Save the Oil! Revelation 6:6

Imam Khamenei: Verification of US Sanctions Removal Means Iran Should Be Able to Sell Its Oil

Imam Khamenei in live address on the occasion of Al-Mabaath Al-Nabawi (Thursday, March 11, 2021 / photo by Tasnim news agency).

Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said any US claim to having removed Iran’s sanctions must be verified by Tehran and this means that the Islamic Republic should be able to sell its oil under normal conditions and receive its money.

Imam Khamenei’s remarks came in a post on his Instagram page on Thursday as an Iranian negotiating team is in the Austrian capital city of Vienna to discuss conditions for the revival of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], with other signatories to the deal.

“Verification [of US sanctions removal] means [being capable of] selling oil in an official manner, with ease and under normal conditions, and its money be received by Iran,” His Eminence added.

Imam Khamenei’s Instagram account also released a video in which His Eminence reiterated that Tehran is in no hurry for Washington to come back to the nuclear agreement.

His Eminence added that the signatories of the nuclear agreement failed to abide by their commitments under the deal, noting that the decision by the Iranian government and parliament to rollback Tehran’s nuclear commitments was right.

Imam Khamenei stated that commitment on one side should be reciprocated by commitment on the other side and the US must remove all sanctions if the West wants Iran to return to JCPOA compliance.

His Eminence also noted that Tehran will return to full compliance with the nuclear deal once it verifies sanctions have been really removed by the US.

Imam Khamenei said other signatories to the deal have no right to set conditions for Tehran as long as they have not fulfilled their obligations, emphasizing that this is Iran’s definitive policy from which Tehran will not step back.

The United States began imposing heavy economic sanctions against Iran in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump scrapped the JCPOA, which was signed by Iran and world powers, as a result of which Iran was barred from economic transactions with the rest of the world, including selling its oil and receiving its money.

While the Trump administration described its anti-Iran measures as the “maximum pressure” policy, Tehran slammed the measures as “economic war,” “economic terrorism” and also “medical terrorism,” maintaining that the sanctions have severely harmed Iranians but failed to bring the nation to its knees.

The new US administration of Joe Biden has conceded that the so-called maximum pressure campaign has failed, promising to replace it with a new policy, but it has so far failed to take any practical steps in that direction and has actually followed suit with Trump-era policies toward Iran.

Iran remained fully compliant with the deal for an entire year but as the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments in several steps under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.

Source: Iranian Agencies

The Threat of the Russian and Chinese Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Russian and Chinese Nuclear Threats Pose Problem for U.S. Deterrence, Experts Say

John GradyApril 8, 2021 11:44 AM

Borei-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine Vladimir Monomakh (SSBN). Russian Navy Photo

Russian and Chinese threats to use nuclear weapons in Europe or across the Taiwan Strait pose “stark real-world problems” in defining deterrence as the United States modernizes its strategic forces, security experts agreed Wednesday.

While the three panelists and keynoter speaker former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said modernizing all legs of the triad and the weapons systems was essential, Keith Payne, the chief executive officer of the National Institute for Public Policy, said “deterrence requirements can change, can change very quickly.” He added, “the outside world has a vote” on what’s needed for deterrence and “the outside world has changed dramatically” since 2010, when the Obama administration reevaluated the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [START] with Russia.

During a virtual Heritage Foundation and Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute event, Payne and the others noted the administration at the time committed itself to modernizing its land-based ballistic missile systems, strategic bomber force and the nation’s ballistic missile submarine fleet and the weapons themselves.

Rebeccah Heinrichs of the Hudson Institute said “baked in” to American military planning is the belief that “our nuclear deterrence will hold.” The “nuclear umbrella” also is key to holding the nation’s alliances together, panelists said.

In the next decade, “the Russians have lowered the threshold in which they might employ a nuclear weapon” in a dispute with another nation, Heinrichs said.

Adding in China, which is expected to at least double its nuclear weapons stockpile in a decade, as well as North Korea and possibly Iran, Payne said,”the threat context is becoming more and more challenging.” The threat includes mobile intermediate-range cruise missiles to sophisticated air defense systems and dual-use, supposedly simple weapons like mines.

Heinrichs put the Russian advantage over the United States in tactical nuclear weapons at 10 to 1. Kyl said the Russians have achieved more than 85 percent of the nuclear platform and weapons system modernization, and China could be aiming to triple its nuclear stockpile to 600 weapons in the next few years.

Moscow and Beijing are ignoring the Cold War “balance of terror” argument – that any nuclear exchange would be suicidal – when they ratchet up the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons. Russia calls the policy “escalate to de-escalate.”

“The way the conflict is de-escalated is because the West stood down,” Kyl added.

Payne said the question now and into the foreseeable future is “what nuclear risks are they willing to accept” in those regional crises.

Matthew Kroenig, of the Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council, said “China arguably has a [nuclear] threat advantage over the U.S.” in the Indo-Pacific.

Since Beijing is not constrained by the START Treaty or by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] treaty, China “may be in a sprint to nuclear parity” with the U.S. in the region. He added he could envision a scenario in which a Chinese attempt to take over Taiwan goes badly and Beijing then threatens to use tactical nuclear weapons against the island.

Russia has done ‘escalate to de-escalate,’ China could do that,” despite its avowed “no first-used policy” regarding nuclear weapons.

Kroenig said the Trump administration adjusted to some of the new challenges by pulling out of the INF, beginning work on missiles with intermediate range and also proposing the development of nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missiles.

In his opening remarks, Kyl said, “we brought the problem on ourselves” of having to pay for modernized platforms and weapons systems at the same time. By not investing continuously after 2010 in the platforms, Washington now finds “both bills are coming due at the same time.”

With questions being raised about the value of modernizing land-based ballistic missiles, “we do not have the consensus we had back in 2010,” he said.

China and Russia are both relying on a triad” in their strategic planning. Kyl said the spending commitment of two to three percent above the rate of inflation would need to run for 10 to 15 years. Reports this week predict that the U.S. defense budget will be flat at $704 to 708 billion.

Service officials have forecast flat or declining budgets in the coming years and emphasized a need to prioritize modernization over legacy platforms. Politico and Bloomberg reported that the topline for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget – which has yet to be released – will be between $704 and $708 billion.

The Aging Nuclear Horn of Babylon the Great: Daniel 7

US Nuclear Weapons Are Aging Quickly. With Few Spare Parts, How Long Can They Last?

30 Mar 2021

Special to McClatchy Washington Bureau | By Tara Copp

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — When hundreds of land-based nuclear armed ballistic missiles were first lowered into underground cement silos spread across the vast cornfields here in 1970, the weapons were only intended to last a decade before a newer system came in.

Fifty years later, these missiles — called the Minuteman III — are still on alert, manned by members of the U.S. Air Force in teams of two who spend 24 hours straight below ground in front of analog terminals from the 1980s, decoding messages and running tests on the missiles’ systems to check if they could still launch if needed.

But it’s not the age of weapons or the decades-old technology that troubles their operators. It’s that the original manufacturers who supplied the gears, tubes and other materials to fix those systems are long gone.

Several years ago, the motor on one of the industrial-sized caged elevators that slowly descends 100 feet below ground to the launch control center broke, an airman with the base’s 791st Maintenance Squadron told McClatchy. A fix was not available for months.

Instead, maintainers resorted to rigging a pulley to lower supplies down for the crews, the airman said, who spoke on the condition they not be named.

We’re severely constrained with spares,” the airman said. “The technology does its job. The challenge is sustaining it.”

To make repairs, airmen are often forced to take parts from another machine. Two of the airmen at Minot told McClatchy the facility’s missile guidance system often needs parts or attention because of constant wear and tear.

You can only do that so many times until the system fails,” said Lt. Col. Steve Bonin, commander of the 91st Operations Support Squadron at Minot.

The price to modernize

Next month Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will seek billions to keep the 50-year-old land based missiles running while a debate begins on whether they should be replaced.

It’s a difficult ask: At the same time, the Pentagon is also in the middle of the most expensive nuclear modernization effort in its history.

All three legs of the nuclear triad — air, land and sea defenses launched from silos, overhead strategic bombers or nuclear submarines — are getting replaced with newer weapons systems, simultaneously.

The next-generation replacement bombers, missiles and submarines now under development have a price tag topping $400 billion and are expected to be a primary topic of questioning during hearings next month as lawmakers debate whether modernizing all three legs is necessary.

“In my humble opinion, we’re building more weapons than we need,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion in December. “We need to look at ways to have a robust deterrent in a more cost-effective manner. And hat’s what we’re going to work towards.”

Kansas City complex

Due to the high cost of developing brand-new weapons, the default for the military has often been keeping the existing nuclear missiles running for a few additional years.

All of the repair and life extension work for nuclear missiles or bombs is handled at just a few offsite locations across the U.S. All of the non-nuclear parts of any of the warheads rely on just one place, the Department of Energy’s Kansas City National Security Campus.

“There are no backup places,” said Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the former head of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile. That means there isn’t a way to quickly obtain spares in an emergency, she added.

The non-nuclear parts of the weapons are tightly controlled in Kansas City because of the high cost if a counterfeit part slips through.

Even for a simple part like wiring, a counterfeit that is set to degrade faster could effectively disable a missile without aircrews realizing the damage, Gordon-Hagerty said.

The non-nuclear components that are produced at the Kansas City facility include items as basic as wiring or bolts, and as complex as the weapon’s firing system. They make up more than 80% of each weapon, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

As the missiles have aged, they’ve needed more work.

Last year, the GAO reported that the Kansas site would need to expand to meet the levels of repair now needed.

“The workload of the Kansas City site has increased and is currently at the highest level since the end of the Cold War,” the GAO said.

The agency cautioned that supply chain issues and a lack of floor space at the Kansas City site could hamper future plans to swap out parts and extend the life of the weapons.

Milley’s message

Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, wonders how many life extensions are left for the missiles.

“When I say heroics, I’m talking about where people are doing some very innovative things to reverse engineer and creatively replace parts and things like that,” Richards said.

He added that another service life extension is “certainly past the point of being cost-effective and approaching the point where you can’t do it at all.”

To prepare for upcoming congressional hearings on the defense budget, Milley went to Minot.

He climbed inside a B-52 Stratofortress that’s been flying since 1960 to talk to the crew and ask them what upgrades would help their missions. The UH-1N Huey that carried him to the missile silo has been in service since 1969. The wall deep underground at the launch control center that he signed as he departed was built around 1962.

“We’re moving into a period where the engineering lifespan of these systems is nearing its end,” Milley said. ”Nuclear deterrence, strategic deterrence, I think, has been effective in preventing great power war for seven decades, since the end of World War II. And until, unless we have something better come along, I think we need to update and modernize the one we have.”

As he departed the launch facility, Milley took a marker to write a message to the missileers. It’s a place near the exit where crews who have completed their tours and visiting defense leaders have also scribbled notes.

“Every day there is no nuke war you won,” Milley wrote.

This article is written by Tara Copp from Special to McClatchy Washington Bureau and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Divepublisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

The China Nuclear Horn Courtesy of the USA

China builds advanced weapons systems using American chip technology

By Ellen Nakashima and Gerry Shih

April 7, 2021 at 1:21 p.m. EDT

In a secretive military facility in southwest China, a supercomputer whirs away, simulating the heat and drag on hypersonic vehicles speeding through the atmosphere — missiles that could one day be aimed at a U.S. aircraft carrier or Taiwan, according to former U.S. officials and Western analysts.

The computer is powered by tiny chips designed by a Chinese firm called Phytium Technology using American software and built in the world’s most advanced chip factory in Taiwan, which hums with American precision machinery, say the analysts.

Phytium portrays itself as a commercial company aspiring to become a global chip giant like Intel. It does not publicize its connections to the research arms of the People’s Liberation Army.

The hypersonic test facility is located at the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center (CARDC), which also obscures its military connections though it is run by a PLA major general, according to public documents, and the former officials and analysts, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

The headquarters of the world’s largest semiconductor maker, TSMC in Hsinchu, Taiwan, is pictured on Jan. 29, 2021. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Phytium’s partnership with CARDC offers a prime example of how China is quietly harnessing civilian technologies for strategic military purposes — with the help of American technology. The trade is not illegal but is a vital link in a global high-tech supply chain that is difficult to regulate because the same computer chips that could be used for a commercial data center can power a military supercomputer.

Hypersonics refers to a range of emerging technologies that can propel missiles at greater than five times the speed of sound and potentially evade current defenses.

The U.S. system created the world’s most advanced military. Can it maintain an edge?

The Trump administration was set to place Phytium and a handful of other Chinese companies on an export blacklist late last year, but ran out of time, according to former U.S. officials. Such a listing would block technology of American origin from flowing to those firms. And, experts say, it would slow the advance of China’s hypersonic weapons program, as well as other sophisticated weapons and more powerful surveillance capabilities.

The designation package now awaits Commerce Department action.

Phytium did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

American firms generally argue that export controls hurt their profits while encouraging China to send its business elsewhere and develop its own industries. But analysts note the United States’ policy is that American technology should not aid the Chinese military and that curtailing future progress by the PLA is worth the cost in lost business.

As tensions between China and the United States deepen, so too have questions over the proper limits for American and Taiwanese firms doing business with China.

Semiconductors are the brains of modern electronics, enabling advances in everything from clean energy to quantum computing. They are now China’s top import, valued at more than $300 billion a year, and a major priority in China’s latest Five-Year Plan for national development.

In January 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tianjin, 70 miles from Beijing and home to Phytium, and touted the company’s importance to the country’s “indigenous innovation” effort. Today, Phytium boasts it is “a leading independent core chip provider in China.” The company markets microprocessors for servers and video games, but its shareholders and main clients are the Chinese state and military, according to government records.

Phytium was founded in August 2014, according to business registration records in a public government database. It was created as a joint venture of the state-owned conglomerate China Electronic Corp. (CEC), the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, and the Tianjin municipal government, according to the records.

The national supercomputing center is a lab run by the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), a premier military research institution whose current president and immediate past president were PLA generals.

In 2015, the Commerce Department placed both organizations on its trade blacklist list, for involvement in nuclear weapons activity, a designation that bars U.S. exports to the firms unless a waiver is obtained.

Phytium’s ownership has changed hands over the years, but its shareholders often have links to the PLA, records show.

“Phytium acts like an independent commercial company,” said Eric Lee, a research associate at the Project 2049 Institute, a Northern Virginia think tank focused on strategic Indo-Pacific issues. “Its executives wear civilian clothes, but they are mostly former military officers from NUDT.’’

In China’s rugged hinterland lies Mianyang, a city in southwest Sichuan province that is a center for research in nuclear weapons. It is also home to the country’s largest aerodynamics research complex: CARDC.

CARDC, which says it has 18 wind tunnels, is heavily involved in research on hypersonic weapons, according to former U.S. officials and U.S. and Australian researchers. Its director, Fan Zhaolin, is a major general, but he is pictured in civilian clothes on the center’s website.

The center has been on the U.S. trade blacklist — called the “entity list”— since 1999 for contributing to “the proliferation of missiles.” In 2016 Commerce further tightened restrictions on the facility.

CARDC, said Tai Ming Cheung, director of the University of California San Diego’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, is “a beating heart of Chinese hypersonic research and development.”

The research center and Fan did not respond to emails seeking comment.

China’s major investments in hypersonics is a major concern at the Pentagon.

“The only way to reliably see a hypersonic vehicle is from space, which makes it a challenge,” said Mark J. Lewis, until recently the Pentagon’s director of defense research and technology. If it is traveling at hypersonic speeds — going at least a mile per second — it gives a missile defense system very little time to figure out what it is and how to stop it, he said.

Hypersonics is a critical, emerging military technology, said Lewis, the executive director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute. China could target Navy ships and air bases in the Pacific, he said, adding that a conventional cruise missile would take an hour or two to reach its target while a hypersonic missile could do so in minutes.

“It is a huge concern,” he said.

In 2014, the U.S. Air Force released an unclassified report on the technology of air warfare that included hypersonics. “Anyone could pick up this document,” Lewis said. “Then we basically took our foot off the gas. There was no sense of hurry, of alacrity.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese read the American research. Their scientists began showing up at U.S. conferences. They started investing. “They saw that hypersonics could give them a military advantage,” Lewis said. “And they acted.”

China, unlike the United States, has fielded a hypersonic weapon: a medium-range hypersonic glide vehicle.

Hundreds to thousands of different configurations of heat, vehicle lift and atmospheric drag need to be analyzed to make a hypersonic missile work, which would be too expensive and time-consuming through physical testing alone, said Iain Boyd, Director of the Center for National Security Initiatives at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “If you didn’t have supercomputers it could take a decade,’’ he said.

In May 2016, CARDC unveiled a “petascale” supercomputer that would aid the aerodynamic design of hypersonic missiles and other aircraft. A petascale computer can handle one trillion calculations per second.

In 2018 and 2019, CARDC scientists published papers showcasing their supercomputer and noting their calculations were done with Phytium’s 1500 and 2000 series chips, though the papers do not discuss research on hypersonic weapons.

CARDC, Phytium, the military university and the Tianjin supercomputing lab are currently developing an even faster computer — able to handle “exascale” speeds of a million trillion calculations per second. The supercomputer, dubbed Tianhe-3, is powered by Phytium’s 2000 series chips, according to Chinese state media.

To produce such chips, Phytium requires the newest design tools.

Although CARDC and other PLA entities are under U.S. sanctions, the Chinese military is still able to access U.S. semiconductor technology through companies like Phytium.

One Silicon Valley company that counts Phytium as a customer is Cadence Design Systems Inc., which gave an award to Phytium at a 2018 conference for presenting the “best paper” on how to use its software for high-performance chip applications. Another is Synopsys, headquartered eight miles from Cadence in San Jose, Calif.

“I have not in my decade in China met a chip design company that isn’t using either Synopsys or Cadence,” said Stewart Randall, a consultant in Shanghai who sells electronic design automation software to top Chinese chipmakers.

Synopsys declined to comment. Cadence did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

More loopholes

Phytium’s microprocessors are produced at gleaming factories outside Taipei by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which now makes the world’s most advanced chips, having surpassed the United States.

TSMC, the largest of several Taiwanese chipmakers, is in the unusual position of manufacturing chips “that end up being used for military purposes by both the United States and China,” said Si-fu Ou, a fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think tank co-founded by Taiwan’s defense ministry.

The company, for instance, makes chips used in advanced American weapons, including Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 fighter jet. TSMC announced last year it would build a $12 billion factory in Arizona in response to Trump administration concerns about the security of the semiconductor supply chain.

“These private companies do business and don’t consider factors like national security,” Ou said, adding that Taiwan, as a small country, lacks the leverage and will to enact export bans. “The United States has a relatively complete set of export control measures and regulations, while Taiwan is relatively loose and has more loopholes,” Ou said.

TSMC said in an email to The Washington Post it obeys all laws and export controls.

TSMC has a “robust assessment and review process on shipments to specific entities that are subject to export control restrictions,” spokeswoman Nina Kao said. “We are not aware of a product manufactured by TSMC that was destined for military end-use as alleged in your email.”

The final stage of Phytium chip design is handled by another Taiwanese company, Alchip, which deals directly with TSMC’s factories on Phytium’s behalf.

Alchip chief financial officer Daniel Wang said Phytium signed an agreement stipulating its chips are not for military use. Phytium has told Alchip its clients are civilians, and that the 1500 and 2000 series chips are made specifically for commercial servers and personal computers, Wang said.

However, a 2018 Alchip news release notes the firm has worked with “China’s National Supercomputing Center,” which had been on Commerce’s blacklist for three years at that point for involvement in “nuclear explosive activities.”

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said unless Phytium is placed under sanctions, TSMC is in no position to cut it off. “It’s not TSMC’s job to be a policeman for the United States,” he said. “That’s for politicians to decide. China is the biggest semiconductor market. If you give that up when the business is legally allowed, you can’t explain that to shareholders.”

Shih reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Pei Lin Wu in Taipei contributed to this report.

Russia Prepared for Nuclear Doomsday: Revelation 8

Russia is testing a nuclear torpedo in the Arctic that has the power to trigger radioactive tsunamis off the US coast

Thomas Colson Apr 7, 2021, 8:54 AM

Russia is planning to deploy a nuclear-powered missile to the Arctic next summer that’s designed to detonate off the coastlines of enemy countries, CNN reported.

Satellite images provided this week to CNN by Maxar, a satellite company, indicated that Russia is testing weapons in the region and building significant military infrastructure in the Arctic — which is increasingly free of ice because of climate change.

CNN reported that Russia would deploy the Poseidon 2M39 missile to its Arctic region next summer. The missile has been referred to in reports as a “doomsday” device because of its devastating power.

The device — images of which first surfaced on Russian state television in 2015 — is an underwater nuclear torpedo designed to hit the ocean floor, kicking up a radioactive tsunami that could spread deadly radiation over thousands of miles of land, rendering it uninhabitable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin requested an update on a “key stage” of the tests in February from his defense minister, and more tests are expected later this year, the Times of London reported.

Russia and NATO countries with a presence in the Arctic region have been increasing their activity there in recent years as rising sea temperatures make it more accessible, Insider’s Christopher Woody reported.

Russia has the world’s longest Arctic coastline and derives about a quarter of its GDP from the region, and the Northern Sea Route is a valuable shipping corridor for Moscow.

The Pentagon on Monday said it was watching reports of Russian military activities and infrastructure build-ups in the Arctic “very closely.”

“Without getting into specific intelligence assessments, obviously we’re monitoring it very closely,” said Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby at a briefing Monday.

“Obviously we’re watching this, and, as I said before, we have national-security interests there that we know … we need to protect and defend,” Kirby said.

“And as I said, nobody’s interested in seeing the Arctic become militarized.”

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat

Patty-Jane Geller

Report

April 6, 2021 3 min read Download Report

Summary

Despite the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START), Russia is able to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile both quantitatively and qualitatively. As Russia modernizes its nuclear forces and introduces new capabilities unconstrained by New START, the United States has just barely begun to modernize its aging legacy strategic systems. Russia is clearly seeking to gain a competitive nuclear advantage over the U.S. This is unacceptably dangerous. To ensure credible, direct, and extended nuclear deterrence against Russia, and to avoid crisis escalation to the nuclear level, the U.S. must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on strategic issues.

Key Takeaways

Russia is building up its nuclear forces—clearly seeking to gain a competitive and dangerous nuclear advantage over the United States.

While Russia modernizes its nuclear forces, most of America’s nuclear systems are between 40 years and 60 years old.

The United States must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on its nuclear forces.

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat Daren Bakst and Joshua SewellReviving the deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal would reward and empower a hostile dictatorship by lifting sanctions and squandering U.S. bargaining leverage. Iran never fully complied with the JCPOA and is currently in violation of it on several accounts. A much more restrictive agreement is necessary. A new agreement should include Iran’s ballistic missile program, disclosure of its past nuclear weapons efforts, and better protection for Israel and Arab allies.

The Issue

Russia relies heavily on nuclear weapons to offset its own perceived inferiority of its conventional forces in a conflict with the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Despite economic challenges, Russia is building up its nuclear forces, and in some areas could gain an advantage over the United States. As Russia modernizes its nuclear forces and introduces new capabilities limited by existing arms controls, the United States has just barely begun to modernize its aging legacy strategic systems. Most of America’s nuclear systems are between 40 years and 60 years old.

Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START

Russia’s strategic nuclear forces are limited by the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) with the United States, which the new Biden Administration extended until 2026. Unclassified sources estimate Russia’s strategic triad to consist of more than 300 silo and road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 10 nuclear-armed submarines, and 60 to 70 strategic bombers. According to New START counting rules, Russia currently deploys nearly 1,500 warheads—though that number is difficult to confirm. In fact, because Russia’s ICBMs can carry multiple warheads per missile, Russia has an “upload capacity” that allows it to quickly surge deployed warheads beyond New START’s limits. Russia has been modernizing its nuclear triad since 1998, and President Vladimir Putin announced in December 2020 that this modernization is approximately 86 percent complete. The effort includes fielding new ICBMs, building more advanced strategic submarines, and a completed overhaul of the strategic bomber fleet.

Russia’s New “Exotic” Nuclear Delivery Systems

In addition to modernizing existing nuclear capabilities, Russia is also developing six entirely new capabilities, without breaking New START terms.

• The maneuverable Avangard Hypersonic Boost-Glide Vehicle (HGV) is carried aboard an ICBM before being loosed at its target. It is meant to evade enemy missile defense systems.

The Sarmat Heavy ICBM can reportedly carry 10 to 15 nuclear warheads, or multiple Avangard HGVs, over the North Pole or South Pole to mainland U.S. targets.

The Poseidonis a nuclear-powered, underwater drone that could create a radioactive “tsunami” to strike U.S. coastal targets.

• The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile offers unlimited range and second-strike capability.

• The Kinzhal air-launched, dual-capable hypersonic ballistic missile is a theater-range system that is already in service.

• The Tsirkon sea-launched, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile is a threat to both sea and land targets.

While the Avangard and Sarmat systems are now counted, but not prohibited, under New START, the other weapons are not; all six have strategic stability implications.

Unconstrained, Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces

Russia has a stockpile of at least 2,000 non-strategic (low-yield) nuclear weapons (NSWs) that are unconstrained by any treaty, outnumbering U.S. NSWs by at least 10 to one. In 2019, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported that Russia’s stockpile is anticipated to grow even more. Russia operates dozens of dual-capable delivery systems, including short-range ballistic missiles, depth charges, torpedoes, land mines, artillery, and mortars. This disparity is particularly concerning because Russia’s recent nuclear doctrine indicates a lower threshold for use of nuclear weapons. According to the United States’ 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, Russia “mistakenly assesses that the threat of nuclear escalation or actual first use of nuclear weapons would serve to ‘de-escalate’ a conflict on terms favorable to Russia.”

Russia’s Nuclear Enterprise

Russia’s current nuclear enterprise is able to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile both quantitatively and qualitatively. A 2020 Government Accountability Office report notes that Russia has the world’s largest volume of bomb-making material. According to a 2019 Army War College estimate, in one year, Russia can produce between 1,000 and 3,000 plutonium pits for nuclear weapons modernization. In contrast, the U.S. has not had a plutonium-pit-production capability since the Cold War. According to the DIA Director in 2019, Russia is conducting low-yield nuclear tests that will allow it to improve its weapons capabilities, including developing new earth-penetrating warheads that can strike hardened targets. Meanwhile, the United States has adhered to a zero-yield testing standard since 1992 and has not entered a new nuclear weapon into service since 1989. Russia is clearly seeking to gain a competitive nuclear advantage over the U.S. This is unacceptably dangerous. To ensure credible, direct, and extended nuclear deterrence against Russia, and to avoid crisis escalation to the nuclear level, the United States must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on its nuclear forces.

The Flashpoint for the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

South Asia as nuclear flashpoint

Arun Joshi Srinagar, April 6, 2021, 3:16 AM UPDATED: April 6, 2021, 11:39 AM

The SIPRI report, if analysed critically, makes it imperative for India and Pakistan to correct their image to de-escalate the situation.

The world has not taken off its eyes of India and Pakistan and their hostilities leading to a possible nuclear clash. This is a worrying scenario as the two neighbouring countries  united by geography  could  have played a big role in stabilising the situation in the region are profiled in a drastically  opposite frame. More worrying is that the land border between the two countries, and the Kashmir issue, are seen as the major contributing factors for the nuclear trigger in the region. After going through the report, there is only one conclusion that India and Pakistan have no option but to work in lockstep not only to dispel this unpalatable impression but also change the landscape from that of hostility to happiness.

Some of the observations made by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its April 2021 report,” South Asia’s Nuclear Challenges, Interlocking views from India, Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States “based on interviews of 119 experts drawn from political, regional and military lines are worrying. It has a special importance in the given situation and time in the region. It has narrowed the definition of the nuclear weapons and their impact in South Asia to tensions between India and Pakistan. That means that despite 1998 and Kargil conflict of 1999 behind us for decades now, the world is still looking at the tensions between the two countries. This is a sad commentary on the relationship between two neighbouring countries.

It is  particularly so, when seen against the backdrop of the February 24-25, 2021,  reaffirmation of the November 2003 ceasefire between the two nations. As a result, a hope appeared on the horizon. The pursuit of turning hope into real-time peace could have made the world to change its view about these two nations, but Islamabad has pressed the pause button on resumption of trade with India.

It has overruled the decision of its own Economic Coordination Committee to start import of sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India. It has used the euphemism of stalling the process of resumption of bilateral ties by claiming that it has deferred the decision on import from India till Delhi reverses its decision of August 5, 2019 of doing away with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories.

Agreed that Pakistan has always insisted on discussing Kashmir with India, but  this is not the way. It has stunned the people on both sides of border. It is wrong messaging to the world. In short, Pakistan has portrayed itself having as having unanticipated reserves to overturn its own decisions.

Dawn newspaper in its editorial on Saturday ( April 3), 2021), noted, “The episode raises several questions, and cannot be shrugged off by ministers. It has created embarrassment. It points to a faulty system and also creates the impression that the key job of decision-making is conducted in a juvenile manner.” There was yet another significant point made in the editorial, “the reversal of the decision on imports from India is a bizarre development – one that falls squarely under the unfortunate category of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. It not only betrays a lack of coordination within the government, it also points to poor decision-making on a serious matter that requires a sensible and level headed approach.”

This is how Pakistan dealt with the matter of trade with India, it sends shivers down the spine as to what it could do when it comes to the use of nuclear option. The SIPRI report authored by two highly respected scholars  Lora Saalman and Petr Topychkanov gains extra relevance in these times.

Of particular importance is the view of the experts from India and Pakistan on the issue. “On India and Pakistan, while experts from both countries focused on how the other has engaged in lowering the nuclear threshold, there was a mutual interest in how Chinese-US competition emerging technologies may have cascade effects that shape South Asia’s deterrence landscape,” after having observed this, the report said that the experts from both the countries expressed “concerns over how such technologies as hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence ( AI) and autonomy may change the deterrence landscape, particularly in terms of surveillance, command and control and even shorter reaction times.”

These point out to the pitfalls of two alliances – US-India, Pakistan-China in the region. The report more than once highlights that how the mutual distrust could invite unpalatable scenarios – of course, I am using soft words to avoid the alarming terms to deliberately avert raising of temperatures in the current situation in which Delhi and Islamabad are locked today. I hope that the things move forward in the direction of peace and progress.

The report has referred to Kargil conflict of  the summer of 1999 when the two countries fought a mini-war in the trans-Himalayas in Ladakh, that time part of Jammu and Kashmir state – now Kargil is part of Ladakh union territory but it cannot be separated from the overall security spectrum of India and Pakistan in the region. That time the possibility of the use of the nuclear weapons had arisen. The US diplomacy and wise counselling by China advising India and Pakistan to maintain the sanctity of the Line of Control had worked to de-escalate the situation. India had regained all the heights before war was over. India had written a new script in mountain warfare that came handy in 2020 standoff with China in eastern Ladakh .

While the report has made a reference to Kargil in the context of possibilities of nuclear clash, it has not mentioned all other details about the conflict that drew the global attention. It, however has made mention of the other terror assaults on India – the December  2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, 26/11 Mumbai attacks and also that of Uri and Pulwama terror attacks in September 2016 and February 2019. The researchers have left the whole thing to the experts, some of whom cited “the longstanding dispute over Kashmir as the central issue and most likely impetus for nuclear escalation .”

Since the  research was done in 2020, the report has not reflected  upon the developments of early part of 2021 between India and Pakistan. But, even before that, there always was a fear that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of groups like Al-Qaeda.

Former US President Barack Obama in his book A Promised Land noted that how Pakistan was helping Al-Qaeda, the global terror network being run by Osama bin Laden, who was eliminated in Pakistan’s garrison town Abbottabad by American elite Marines.

The SPRI report, if analysed critically, makes it imperative for India and Pakistan to correct their image to de-escalate the situation. Few experts have based their comments on scenarios and they have not reflected pleasantly about India and Pakistan. Delhi and Islamabad must work together to dispel this perception. It is good for both.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Prepares for War Up North

Satellite images show huge Russian military buildup in the Arctic

By Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

Updated 6:42 AM EDT, Mon April 05, 2021

(CNN) Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to the climate emergency, in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe.

Weapons experts and Western officials have expressed particular concern about one Russian ‘super-weapon,’ the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. Development of the torpedo is moving fast with Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting an update on a “key stage” of the tests in February from his defense minister Sergei Shoigu, with further tests planned this year, according to multiple reports in state media.

This unmanned stealth torpedo is powered by a nuclear reactor and intended by Russian designers to sneak past coastal defenses — like those of the US — on the sea floor.

The device is intended to deliver a warhead of multiple megatons, according to Russian officials, causing radioactive waves that would render swathes of the target coastline uninhabitable for decades.

In November, Christopher A Ford, then assistant secretary of state for International Security and Non-Proliferation, said the Poseidon is designed to “inundate U.S. coastal cities with radioactive tsunamis.”

Experts agree that the weapon is “very real” and already coming to fruition. The head of Norwegian intelligence, Vice Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, told CNN that his agency has assessed the Poseidon as “part of the new type of nuclear deterrent weapons. And it is in a testing phase. But it’s a strategic system and it’s aimed at targets … and has an influence far beyond the region in which they test it currently.” Stensønes declined to give details on the torpedo’s testing progress so far.

Satellite images provided to CNN by space technology company Maxar detail a stark and continuous build-up of Russian military bases and hardware on the country’s Arctic coastline, together with underground storage facilities likely for the Poseidon and other new high-tech weapons. The Russian hardware in the High North area includes bombers and MiG31BM jets, and new radar systems close to the coast of Alaska.

The Russian build-up has been matched by NATO and US troop and equipment movements. American B-1 Lancer bombers stationed in Norway’s Ørland air base have recently completed missions in the eastern Barents Sea, for example. The US military’s stealth Seawolf submarine was acknowledged by US officials in August as being in the area.

A senior State Department official told CNN: “There’s clearly a military challenge from the Russians in the Arctic,” including their refitting of old Cold War bases and build-up of new facilities on the Kola Peninsula near the city of Murmansk. “That has implications for the United States and its allies, not least because it creates the capacity to project power up to the North Atlantic,” the official said.

View this interactive content on CNN.com

The satellite images show the slow and methodical strengthening of airfields and “trefoil” bases — with a shamrock-like design, daubed in the red, white and blue of the Russian flag — at several locations along Russia’s Arctic coast over the past five years. The bases are inside Russian territory and part of a legitimate defense of its borders and coastline. US officials have voiced concern, however, that the forces might be used to establish de facto control over areas of the Arctic that are further afield, and soon to be ice-free.

“Russia is refurbishing Soviet-era airfields and radar installations, constructing new ports and search-and-rescue centers, and building up its fleet of nuclear- and conventionally-powered icebreakers,” Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.

“It is also expanding its network of air and coastal defense missile systems, thus strengthening its anti-access and area-denial capabilities over key portions of the Arctic,” he added.

Campbell also noted the recent creation of a Quick Reaction Alert force at two Arctic airfields — Rogachevo and Anadyr — and the trial of one at Nagurskoye airfield last year. Satellite imagery from March 16 shows probable MiG31BMs at Nagurskoye for what is thought to be the first time, bringing a new capability of Russian stealth air power to the far north.

High-tech weapons are also being regularly tested in the Arctic area, according to Russian officials quoted in state media and Western officials.

Campbell added that in November, Russia claimed the successful test of the ‘Tsirkon’ anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile.

The Tsirkon and the Poseidon are part of a new generation of weapons pledged by Putin in 2018 as strategic game changers in a fast-changing world.

At the time US officials scorned the new weapons as technically far-fetched and improbable, yet they appear to be nearing fruition. The Norwegian intelligence chief Stensønes told CNN the Tsirkon as a “new technology, with hypersonic speeds, which makes it hard to defend against.”

On Thursday, Russian state news agency TASS cited a source in the military industrial complex as saying there had been another successful test of the Tsirkon from the Admiral Gorshkov warship, saying all four test rockets had hit their target, and that another more advanced level of tests would begin in May or June.

The climate emergency has removed many of Russia’s natural defenses to its north, such as walls of sheet ice, at an unanticipated rate. “The melt is moving faster than scientists predicted or thought possible several years ago,” said the senior State Department official. “It’s going to be a dramatic transformation in the decades ahead in terms of physical access.”

View this interactive content on CNN.com

US officials also expressed concern at Moscow’s apparent bid to influence the “Northern Sea Route” — a shipping lane that runs from between Norway and Alaska, along Russia’s northern coast, across to the North Atlantic. The ‘NSR’ potentially halves the time it currently takes shipping containers to reach Europe from Asia via the Suez Canal.

Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear company released elaborately produced drone video this February of the ‘Christophe de Margerie’ tanker completing an eastern route across the Arctic in winter for the first time, accompanied by the ’50 Let Pobedy’ nuclear icebreaker for its journey in three of the six Arctic seas.

Campbell said Russia sought to exploit the NSR as a “major international shipping lane,” yet voiced concern at the rules Moscow was seeking to impose on vessels using the route. “Russian laws governing NSR transits exceed Russia’s authority under international law,” the Pentagon spokesman said.

“They require any vessel transiting the NSR through international waters to have a Russian pilot onboard to guide the vessel. Russia is also attempting to require foreign vessels to obtain permission before entering the NSR.”

The senior State Department official added: “The Russian assertions about the Northern Sea Route is most certainly an effort to lay down some rules of the road, get some de facto acquiescence on the part of the international community, and then claim this is the way things are supposed to work.”

View this interactive content on CNN.com

Elizabeth Buchanan, lecturer of Strategic Studies at Deakin University, Australia, said that “basic geography affords Russia the NSR which is increasingly seeing thinner ice for more of the year making it commercially viable to use as a transport artery. This might yet transform global shipping, and with it the movements of 90+% of all goods globally.”

The State Department official believes the Russians are mostly interested in exporting hydrocarbons — essential to the country’s economy — along the route, but also in the resources being uncovered by the fast melt. The flexing of their military muscles in the north — key to Moscow’s nuclear defense strategy, and also mostly on Russian coastal territory — could be a bid to impose their writ on the wider area, the official said.

“When the Russians are testing weapons, jamming GPS signals, closing off airspace or sea space for exercises, or flying bombers over the Arctic along the airspace of allies and partners, they are always trying to send a message,” the official added.

Russia insists motives are peaceful and economic

Russia’s foreign ministry declined to comment, yet Moscow has long maintained its goals in the Arctic are economic and peaceful.

A March 2020 document by Kremlin policymakers presented Russia’s key goals in an area behind 20% of its exports and 10% of its GDP. The strategy focuses on ensuring Russia’s territorial integrity and regional peace. It also expresses the need to guarantee high living standards and economic growth in the region, as well as developing a resource base and the NSR as “a globally competitive national transport corridor.”

Putin regularly extols the importance of Russia’s technological superiority in the Arctic. In November, during the unveiling of a new icebreaker in St. Petersburg, the Russian President said: “It is well-known that we have a unique icebreaker fleet that holds a leading position in the development and study of Arctic territories. We must reaffirm this superiority constantly, every day.”

Putin said of a submarine exercise last week in which three submarines surfaced at the same time in the polar ice: “The Arctic expedition … has no analogues in the Soviet and the modern history of Russia.”

Among these new weapons is the Poseidon 2M39. The plans for this torpedo were initially revealed in an apparently purposeful brandishing of a document discussing its capabilities by a Russian general in 2015.

It was subsequently partially dismissed by analysts as a ‘paper tiger’ weapon, meant to terrify with its apocalyptic destructive powers that appear to slip around current treaty requirements, but not to be successfully deployed.

A Russian Delta IV submarine photographed on top of ice near Alexandra Island on March 27, during an exercise, with a likely hole blown in the ice to its left from underwater demolition.

Yet a series of developments in the Arctic — including, according to Russian media reports, the testing of up to three Russian submarines designed to carry the stealth weapon, which has been suggested to be 20 meters long — have now led analysts to consider the project real and active.

Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti, cited a “source” on Monday saying that tests for the Belgorod submarine, especially developed to be armed with the Poseidon torpedo, would be completed in September.

Manash Pratim Boruah, a submarine expert at Jane’s Fighting Ships, said: “The reality of the weapon is clear. You can absolutely see development around the torpedo, which is happening. There is a very good probability that the Poseidon will be tested, and then there is a danger of it polluting a lot. Even without a warhead, but definitely with just a nuclear reactor inside.”

Boruah said some of the specifications for the torpedo leaked by the Russians were optimistic and doubted it could reach a speed of 100 knots (around 115 miles per hour) with a 100MW nuclear reactor. He added that at such a speed, it would probably be detected quite easily as it would create a large acoustic signature.

“Even if you tone it down from the speculation, it is still quite dangerous,” he said.

Boruah added that the construction of storage bays for the Poseidon, probably around Olenya Guba on the Kola Peninsula, were meant to be complete next year. He also expressed concerns about the Tsirkon hyper-sonic missile that Russia says it has tested twice already, which at speeds of 6 to 7 Mach would “definitely cause a lot of damage without a particularly having big warhead itself.”

Katarzyna Zysk, professor of international relations at the state-run Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, said the Poseidon was “getting quite real,” given the level of infrastructure development and testing of submarines to carry the torpedo.

“It is absolutely a project that will be used to scare, as a negotiation card in the future, perhaps in arms control talks,” Zysk said. “But in order to do so, it has to be credible. This seems to be real.”

Stensønes also raised the concern that testing such nuclear weapons could have serious environmental consequences. “We are ecologically worried. This is not only a theoretical thing: in fact, we have seen serious accidents in the last few years,” he said, referring to the testing of the Burevestnik missile which was reported to have caused a fatal nuclear accident in 2019. “The potential of a nuclear contamination is absolutely there.”

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Manash Pratim Boruah’s last name

The British nuclear horn enters the fray: Daniel 7

Boris Johnson’s March 16 speech before the British Parliament was reminiscent, at least in tone, to that of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2019, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China.

The comparison is quite apt if we remember the long-anticipated shift in Britain’s foreign policy and Johnson’s conservative Government’s pressing need to chart a new global course in search for new allies – and new enemies.

Xi’s words in 2019 signaled a new era in Chinese foreign policy, where Beijing hoped to send a message to its allies and enemies that the rules of the game were finally changing in its favor, and that China’s economic miracle – launched under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in 1992 – would no longer be confined to the realm of wealth accumulation, but would exceed this to politics and military strength, as well.

In China’s case, Xi’s declarations were not a shift per se, but rather a rational progression. However, in the case of Britain, the process, though ultimately rational, is hardly straightforward. After officially leaving the European Union in January 2020, Britain was expected to articulate a new national agenda. This articulation, however, was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple crises it generated.

Several scenarios, regarding the nature of Britain’s new agenda, were plausible:

One, that Britain maintains a degree of political proximity to the EU, thus avoiding more negative repercussions of Brexit;

Two, for Britain to return to its former alliance with the US, begun in earnest in the post-World War II era and the formation of NATO and reaching its zenith in the run up to the Iraq invasion in 2003;

Finally, for Britain to play the role of the mediator, standing at an equal distance among all parties, so that it may reap the benefits of its unique position as a strong country with a massive global network.

A government’s report, “Global Britain in a Competitive Age”, released on March 16, and Johnson’s subsequent speech, indicate that Britain has chosen the second option.

The report clearly prioritises the British-American alliance above all others, stating that “The United States will remain the UK’s most important strategic ally and partner”, and underscoring Britain’s need to place greater focus on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region, calling it “the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition”.

Therefore, unsurprisingly, Britain is now set to dispatch a military carrier to the South China Sea, and is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal from 180 to 260 warheads, in obvious violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The latter move can be directly attributed to Britain’s new political realignment which roughly follows the maxim of ‘the enemy of my friend is my enemy’.

The government’s report places particular emphasis on China, warning against its increased “international assertiveness” and “growing importance in the Indo-Pacific”. Furthermore, it calls for greater investment in enhancing “China-facing capabilities” and responding to “the systematic challenge” that China “poses to our security”.

How additional nuclear warheads will allow Britain to achieve its above objectives remains uncertain. Compared with Russia and the US, Britain’s nuclear arsenal, although duly destructive, is negligible in terms of its overall size. However, as history has taught us, nuclear weapons are rarely manufactured to be used in war – with the single exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The number of nuclear warheads and the precise position of their operational deployment are usually meant to send a message, not merely that of strength or resolve, but also to delineate where a specific country stands in terms of its alliances.

The US-Soviet Cold War, for example, was expressed largely through a relentless arms race, with nuclear weapons playing a central role in that polarizing conflict, which divided the world into two major ideological-political camps.

Now that China is likely to claim the superpower status enjoyed by the Soviets until the early 1990s, a new Great Game and Cold War can be felt, not only in the Asia Pacific region, but as far away as Africa and South America. While Europe continues to hedge its bets in this new global conflict – reassured by the size of its members’ collective economies – Britain, thanks to Brexit, no longer has that leverage. No longer an EU member, Britain is now keen to protect its global interests through a direct commitment to US interests. Now that China has been designated as America’s new enemy, Britain must play along.

While much media coverage has been dedicated to the expansion of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, little attention has been paid to the fact that the British move is a mere step in a larger political scheme, which ultimately aims at executing a British tilt to Asia, similar to the US ‘pivot to Asia’, declared by the Barack Obama Administration nearly a decade ago.

The British foreign policy shift is an unprecedented gamble for London, as the nature of the new Cold War is fundamentally different from the previous one; this time around, the ‘West’ is divided, torn by politics and crises, while NATO is no longer the superpower it once was.

Now that Britain has made its position clear, the ball is in the Chinese court, and the new Great Game is, indeed, afoot.

—The writer is a journalist and Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. http://www.ramzybaroud.net

Israeli authorities ban celebration for new freed Palestinian detainees outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli occupation authorities ban celebration for new freed Palestinian detainees

Saturday, 03 April 2021 4:43 PM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 April 2021 12:40 PM ]

By Wafaa Al-Udaini

The day of freedom from prison is a special day for Palestinian political prisoners and their families. It is considered a national day where celebrations are held, and fireworks launched.  

Yet, according to Israeli laws against Palestinians of Jerusalem al-Quds, freed prisoners of Jerusalem al-Quds are not allowed to hold any kind of celebration, whether in their neighborhood or in their own homes. 

Furthermore, freed prisoners are often re-arrested by the occupation police to sign pledges to not hold any celebrations, ceremonies and even the Palestinian flag; they are also not allowed to receive guests who wish to congratulate them on their release. 

On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the Israeli occupation forces stormed the home of Majd Barbar, former Palestinian political prisoner, released after 20 years of detention, one day earlier. They kidnapped him and attacked family members and friends who were present in his home, in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. 

Barbar was released again after one day of detention, but under several conditions, including pledging not to hold celebration events, not to raise the Palestinian flag, not launching fireworks; and to pay a financial guarantee of 1,000 NIS.  

Barbar is a father of two and has been detained by the Israeli occupation forces since 2001. On the day of his release, his family, friends and neighbors of his Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood welcomed him grandly. Several touching videos of this welcoming back reunion featuring Majd Barbar with his loved ones went viral on social media. 

Zaina, 20-year-old daughter of Majd said, “The occupation always tries to snatch any joy and happiness from our hearts. It’s really unfair! The moment of my father’s freedom is so significant in our lives; Israel took him away from me since I was 15 days old.”

Ali Almoghrabi, spokesperson of the Asra Information Office, said that this is a familiar pattern with Palestinian political prisoners held in the Israeli military prisons. “When they end their sentence, they are re-arrested. This Israeli policy is mostly used in Occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. Some ex-prisoners have been forcibly deported from their hometown for days, while others have been prohibited from celebrating or participating in any political or peaceful events,” he stated.  

“The occupation aims at keeping Palestinians of Jerusalem al-Quds in states of pain, frustration and sadness. It doesn’t want them to connect with their Palestinian identity”, he added. 

For Jerusalemite ex-prisoners, the Israeli authorities re-detained many of them as they walked out of prison after serving long years. 

“They were kidnapped and re-detained by Israeli forces and then re-released under restricted conditions by signing pledges to not celebrate or participate in any political or peaceful events”, said Amjad Abu Assab, head of the Committee of Families of Prisoners from Jerusalem al-Quds. 

Ali Almoghrabi, stated in an interview, “Such celebrations are considered as one of the popular resistance methods so the Occupation tries to stop them and kill any spirit of resistance or patriotism.” 

The total number of Palestinians held in Israeli jails today is nearly 5,000, of whom 450 remain in administrative detention. Over 500 prisoners, including women and minors, are from Jerusalem al-Quds alone. 

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, the Israelis follow this policy in order to keep Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem al-Quds oppressed and disappointed so that no one can see the prisoner as a hero.  

“The Israeli policy of no-celebration is nothing new,” the spokesman of Asra Information Office explained. “All the Israeli policies used against the prisoners are totally racist. They want to bury the Palestinian identity from Jerusalemites to show that Jerusalem al-Quds is completely Jewish.” He added that this policy is not implemented on the Israelis. 

The Israelis also use another policy to oppress and harass newly freed Jerusalemites by deporting them to another city. Such a gross injustice happened to Waseem Aljallad a year ago. 

Wassem Aljallad, 42, from Jerusalem al-Quds was re-detained and transferred to al-Maskubiya police station immediately after he had been freed from a 15-year prison sentence.  

Aljallad was a new groom when he was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces. While the latter raided his home to re-arrest him, he was in pyjamas, and they dragged him this way out of his home. He was accused of participating in anti-occupation military operations. 

His family planned to hold his wedding ceremony again after finishing his sentence, but the Israeli authorities forced him to cancel his wedding ceremonies and not to celebrate his release nor to attend any gatherings as a condition to his re-release. 

They also deported him from Jerusalem al-Quds for two weeks and compelled him to pay a financial guarantee of $1,400 and another unpaid amount of $25,000. He was released one day after the expected day on July 2019. His mother said in pain that they waited this day.  

The harassing policies that Israel applies against newly freed Palestinian prisoners vary according to the prisoners’ home regions and positions. Since the Israeli occupation forces fully control Jerusalem al-Quds, they have completely banned celebrations there. In the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, prisoners are sometimes released at dawn or midnight to ensure families and friends cannot immediately greet and celebrate with the newly freed Palestinians. In cases where the detention of Palestinian political prisoners has grabbed media attention, like for teenager Ahed Tamimi, long-hunger-striker Khader Adnan, and journalist Mohammed AlQeeq, the Israeli authorities apply yet again different post-release policies. 

Several human rights organizations demand that Israel stops these sadistic and harassing policies of freed Palestinian political prisoners. 

Wafaa al-Udaini is a Palestinian journalist based in Gaza.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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