Another attack on Babylon the Great

Drone Attacks Iraq Airport Housing U.S. Troops

One building damaged, no casualties reported in attack on Erbil airport

By Ghassan Adnan and

Updated April 14, 2021 5:56 pm ET

Erbil airport in northern Iraq as seen in 2014.

Photo: joel saget/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

BAGHDAD—A drone carrying explosives attacked a U.S. air base in northern Iraq on Wednesday, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

No casualties were reported in the attack on the airport in Erbil, which doubles as a base for U.S. troops, according to the interior ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq.

The attack on the military section of the airport was carried out by a drone carrying explosives, according to a statement from the interior ministry. The drone landed on a storage hangar at the air base, causing a fire that was later extinguished, according to the U.S.-led coalition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Sabreen, a news agency that supports Iranian-backed paramilitary groups, shared news of the attack.

It follows months of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, whose allied militias in Iraq have launched a series of attacks on U.S. bases in the country.

An attack on the Erbil airport in February killed a contractor working for U.S. forces.

A pro-Iranian militia group claimed responsibility. In retaliation for that attack, the U.S. launched airstrikes on Iran-allied militant groups in Syria.

“It seems the same #militia who targeted the airport two months ago are at it again. This is a clear & dangerous escalation,” tweeted Iraq’s former foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari.

A separate rocket attack on a Turkish military base in northern Iraq on Wednesday killed a Turkish service member, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attacks come as the Biden administration is attempting to re-engage Iran, sending officials to another round of indirect talks in Vienna this week aimed at reviving the 2015 agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

But an apparent attack on Iran’s main nuclear facility has threatened to derail those talks. Iran accused Israel of carrying out an act of sabotage at the Natanz nuclear facility on Sunday. Israeli media reported that the attack was carried out by the nation’s Mossad intelligence agency, though Israeli officials declined to comment.

Following the attack on the nuclear facility, Iran said it would begin enriching uranium to 60% for the first time.

Write to Jared Malsin at jared.malsin@wsj.com

The Chinese nuclear horn commands space: Daniel 7

China intends to militarize space, displace US power: intel report

By Mark Moore

April 13, 2021 | 1:10pm

China is working on militarizing space and matching or exceeding US technology in the coming years, the US intelligence community said in its Global Risk Assessment report.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s report says that China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, is poised to become the US’ greatest rival in space, setting far-reaching and ambitious goals “to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership.”

The report, released last Friday, said Beijing “has counterspaceweapons capabilities” enabling it to target satellites belonging to the US and its allies.

“Beijing continues to train its military space elements and field new destructive and nondestructive ground- and space-based anti – satellite weapons ,” the report said, adding that China already has ground-based anti-satellite missiles and lasers “probably intended to blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors ” on US spacecraft.

It predicted that China will have an operational space station in low Earth orbit between 2022 and 2024, and will continue to conduct exploratory missions to the moon with the aim to establish a robotic research station on the lunar surface as a precursor to an “intermittently crewed” base.

China aims to establish a crewed base on the surface of the moon in the future.

AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party “ will continue its whole-of-government efforts to spread China’s influence, undercut that of the United States, drive wedges between Washington and its allies and partners, and foster new international norms that favor the authoritarian Chinese system.”

Chinese leaders probably will, however, seek tactical opportunities to reduce tensions with Washington when such opportunities suit their interests ,” the intelligence report said.

While working on the space-based initiatives, China will maintain its “major innovation and industrial policies” to reduce reliance on foreign technologies, to develop military upgrades, to continue economic growth, with the goal of ensuring the country’s survival.

China’s military is poised to become the US’ greatest rival in space.

China National Space Administration

“Beijing sees increasingly competitive US-China relations as part of an epochal geopolitical shift and views Washington’s economic measures against Beijing since 2018 as part of a broader US effort to contain China’s rise ,” the ODNI report said, referring to the tariffs former President Donald Trump placed on Chinese goods being sold in the US.

As part of its long-term goals, China is consolidating its military power with its economic, technological and diplomatic strengths to “secure what it views as its territory and regional preeminence, and pursue international cooperation at Washington’s expense .”

China’s goal is to “foster new international norms” by undercutting the prominence and power of the US.

AP

Beijing will tout its success responding to the coronavirus pandemic as “evidence of the superiority of its system” and will use “vaccine diplomacy” to its advantage.

China will also extend its influence in the region, including its claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and the bolstering of its naval presence in the South China Sea “to signal to Southeast Asian countries that China has effective control over contested areas.”

O n nuclear weapons, the report said China is not interested in abiding by any arms control agreements that will hamper its future plans and will not engage in negotiations with Russia or the US that preserve their nuclear advantages.

Beijing intends to “at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile” in the next decade.

“China is building a larger and increasingly capable nuclear missile force that is more survivable, more diverse, and on higher alert than in the past, including nuclear missile systems designed to manage regional escalation and ensure an intercontinentalc second-strike capability ,” the report said. 

The Russian nuclear horn prepares for war: Revelation 16

Nuclear missiles moved out of storage by Putin ‘Possible launch against the West’

RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS have been moved out of storage by Putin to be aimed at the West, according to a military analyst.

By TOM HUSSEY

PUBLISHED: 13:15, Wed, Apr 14, 2021

Speaking to France24, military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles into the field “for possible launch at America and its allies.” The military analyst stressed the situation has now got serious and highlighted this has been a “very vivid build up.” The terrifying news comes as Russia ramps up its presence on the Ukrainian border amid the threat of a full-blown war between the two nations. 

Pavel Felgenhauer said: “There also been an official announcement that Russian nuclear deterrent has been put on heightened capability.

“And Russian mobile ICBM’s have been moved out of permanent storage into the field.”

Ukrainian forces have also dug trenches in preparation for war as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy are ready to fight.

And in a terrifying suggestion, he warned that the move was for “possible launch against America and its allies.”

He added: “This has been a very vivid build up.”

The military analyst went on to acknowledge the growing concern of the international community as western nations decide what to do about the looming threat of all-out war.

Mr Felgenhauer also added how Russia’s military intimidations have achieved the desired aim of provoking western countries including the USA.

He said: “Today Biden phoned Putin and this has been interpreted in Moscow as a victory for Russia, that Russian blackmail is working.”

Mr Felgenhauer concluded: “That means most likely there’s going to be more of that.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia could invade Ukraine “at any day” in a terrifying admission to CNN during a recent visit to see Ukrainian troops dug into trenches in the Donbas region where the threat of invasion is expected.

Mr Zelenskiy said: “Of course. We know it, from 2014 we know it can be each day.

“They are ready, but we are also ready because we are on our land and our territory.”

The Ukrainian leader added: “But what now is going on? What we do here? What do our people do here? They fight.”

The Russian nuclear horn extends into Crimea: Daniel 7

Ukraine: Russia may store nuclear weapons in Crimea

By REUTERS   APRIL 14, 2021 16:44

Ukraine’s defense minister said on Wednesday that Russia is preparing Crimea for potentially storing nuclear weapons and warned that Moscow could attack Ukraine to ensure water supplies for the annexed peninsula.

Andrii Taran, speaking to the European Parliament’s defense sub-committee in Brussels, also said he could not rule out that Russia forces in Crimea could “undertake substantive military provocations” in 2021.

He did not immediately provide evidence for his assertions.

The Mighty Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Russia To Remain ‘Largest, Most Capable’ WMD Rival To US – National Intelligence Director

Faizan Hashmi 1 minute ago Tue 13th April 2021 | 09:10 PM

The United States has concluded that Russia will remain the largest and most capable rival to the United States with respect to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community issued by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said on Tuesday

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 13th April, 2021) The United States has concluded that Russia will remain the largest and most capable rival to the United Stateswith respect to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community issued by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said on Tuesday.

We assess that Russia will remain the largest and most capable WMD rival to the United States for the foreseeable future as it expands and modernizes its nuclearweapons capabilities and increases the capabilities of its strategic and nonstrategic weapons,” the report said.

The Chinese and Russian Nuclear Horns Respond to Babylon the Great: Daniel 7

Russia and China’s coordinated approach to the US moves!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Telegraphnepal

N. P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: Needless to say, American loss is China’s gains and vice versa.

As the luck would have it, China’s advances are immense these days.

The month of March this year has tentatively favored China speaking on political terms.

It was this month which brought China and the US almost to a violent verbal confrontation in Alaska wherein US Secretary of State Antony Blinken exploded on China on the matters related to Xinxiang and Hong Kong affairs which China claims that these were its internal dealings.

The US also, as usual, complained against China on issues related with Taiwan and Chinese pressure on Australia in the recent months.

US top diplomat Antony Blinken confronted with China’s diplomatic team led by Communist Party Secretary on Foreign Undertakings, Yang Jiechi and the sitting Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The two top Chinese diplomats told the US in no uncertain terms that it in no way is the “spokesman for international public opinion and it should resolve its own domestic problems instead of trying to create new copies of American democracy abroad”.

It was almost some sort of verbal challenge to the US from China.

Writes Robert Ford in his fresh article on “Chinese Diplomatic Gains against America” dated March 31, 2021 quoting Yang Jiechi as saying that “Washington should stop its interventions to change regimes, and fix its own human rights failures, for example the problems with America’s black communities”.

Perhaps he was referring to some incidents in the US that have gone against the Black Americans in the recent years and decades.

Even in the recent days and weeks, the Asian-Americans have become the targets of some in the US. This is scary indeed.

Notably, Robert Ford is a former US ambassador to Syria and Algeria and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute for Near East Policy in Washington.

If one were to believe Robert Ford then the Alaska meet was a catastrophe for the US wherein the confronting side China almost prevailed over its arch enemy.

Should this mean that Trumpian administration was more aggressive on China than the incumbent Biden’s management?

In addition, the Chinese diplomatic team at Alaska also suggested the US to repose trust on the UN system and allow the UN body to speak on international issues.

Quite interestingly, almost the same sentiments were put on record by the Foreign Minister of Russian federation, Sergei Lavrov, in Guilin City in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region during his fresh visit.

FM Lavrov was in Guilin City from March 22-23 last month.

This meet of Wang and Lavrov-the two veteran diplomats from China and Russia is significant in that the two countries appear on the same page on prevailing international issues after the US-China Alaska meet held on March 18.

The stance taken by the Chinese and the Russian side goes against the position taken by the US on global concerns.

The Russian-China coming together may bring in political complications for the new US administration, say South Asian political commentators.

This meet amply demonstrated that both China and the Russian federation have decided to take a coordinated approach to the US moves on international matters.

Much to the surprise of the US administration, FM Lavrov through a Russian Foreign Ministry statement criticized the “Western attempts to promote its concept of a rules-based international order.”

Sergei Lavrov stressed that China and Russia both reject the “illegal unilateral sanctions” leveled by the West and discussed the two countries’ efforts to reduce the influence of the U.S. dollar.

Writes the MEMRI ( Russia, China | Special Dispatch No. 9252 dated March 24, 2021) that according to Chinese senior analysts, the joint statement is a significant setback for the U.S. “rules-based international order,” as it stresses that all countries must resolutely safeguard the international structure, which includes the United Nations, and the international order, which is based on international law.

The Chinese position on democracy after Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov meet says that, “There is no uniform standard for the model of democracy. The legitimate right of sovereign states to choose their own path of development should be respected. Interfering in sovereign states’ internal affairs under the guise of ‘promoting democracy’ is unacceptable”.

This is strong word for the US.

This statement makes clear the Chinese concept of democracy which sharply differs from the notion of the US on democracy and its inherent values.

It would be apposite to present the “model of democracy” in Nepal which has been run by India bend-RAW trained thug aristocratic communists who are perhaps excessively loved by the US also or else these ruffian Nepali communists would have been unseated by the US which, as far as we understand, hates Communists and its spread across the globe.

If the US hated baby Kim of North Korea then Nepali communists are more scoundrel sort of Communists than what baby Kim Jung-un is.

Or some even say that since the Nepali communists are not communists worth the name so the US takes them as “aristocratic democrats” and does not fear of their spread or for that matter their corrupt practices.

To recall, long time back the US Ambassador Michael E. Malinowaski expressed his eagerness to visit the UML headquarters in Balkhu.

The hooligans who occupied Balkhu palace replaced the photos of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao with that of Abraham Lincoln.

The US envoy was quick enough to notice the Communists thuggery. He then must have “informed” Washington of the Communist tricksters of Nepal.

Or some even say that the US likes the Nepali communists as they tentatively work for the RAW-Indian spy agency.

This way, the Communists serve the Indo-Pacific strategy and serve the US in a broader sense.

Back to the point:

Apart from the Chinese and the Russian views on democracy mentioned in the joint statement, the two powerful countries also talk on Iran, and peace in Afghanistan and many more.

On UN, the two foreign ministers from Russia and China stressed the need to follow the UN Charter and uphold true multilateralism and make international relations even more democratic than what it is today and accept and promote peaceful existence even with the countries that have differing political system(s) of their choice and have chosen their own development models.

As regards Iran, both China and Russia have asked the US to lift sanctions on Iran and settle the nuclear dispute with the Islamic State through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US’s overly stretched sanctions on Iran, notably, has only benefited Beijing to expand its influence in Tehran and ink a deal worth 400 billion.

This massive 400 billion Beijing-Tehran deal signed March 27, 2021, is talked to be far bigger than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (With 60 billion investment).

Iran is now tentatively in China’s orbit.

All that China wants from Iran is the uninterrupted and “discounted” supply of Oli for long time to come which is expected to fulfil China’s increasing/swelling energy demands.

Had the US not imposed sanctions on Iran, India would have entered and exploited the Iranian energy for its development and that too at a dirt cheap price.

Iran is saved from Indian thuggery because of the latter’s strong ties with the US.

Political analysts now expect that the 400 billion Chinese investment in Iran will in all likelihood benefit Imran Khan’s Pakistan through the spillover effect.

South Asian analysts opine that the role of Pakistan due to its geo-strategic position is very essential in connecting China and Iran.

Pakistan’s political connections with these countries is in excellent form that bodes well for Pakistan specially and the region at large.

A Moscow based American analyst Andrew Korybko in an article published in the Express Tribune dated April 01, 2021 describes the China-Iran fresh deal as a “lifeline that would enhance the West Asian country’s long term stability in the face of US sanctions and increased US led regional military pressure.

Korybko adds saying that “it is in Pakistan’s interest not only to see to it that the larger neighborhood remains stable but also to enhance its regional connectivity with all interested countries in the vicinity.

Writes Korybko, “considering the fact that Pakistan hosts the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC, it’s only natural that this megaproject expands westward into Iran as a result of China’s reportedly promised investments there”.

Chances thus remain high that the China aided Pakistan’s CPEC touches the proposed China’s investment in Iran.

This is logical in that Pakistan being darling to both China and Iran which may prompt both the countries in “consensus” to devise some mechanisms that benefits a nuclear Pakistan.

Pakistan having the expertise gained from the CPEC mega projects may assist both Iran and China in a way the countries prefer.

Moreover, Imran Khan being very close to the top Iranian and Chinese leadership will have no problems in approaching the two countries appealing them to explore some projects of commercial benefits for Pakistan.

Not only this, PM Khan by the same token is also not that far from the US who can use his good offices, if need be, to mediate between the US and China and the US with Iran.

It is up to the countries to seek if they wish to bring in Pakistan for mediation efforts.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said, March 18 last month that Iran, as a rich source of energy, has the capacity to meet Pakistan’s energy needs.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is our neighbor and a rich source of energy through which Pakistan’s energy needs can be met,” Khan said at the inaugural session of the two-day Islamabad Security Dialogue held March 17, 2021 in Islamabad.

This means that PM Khan was in advance knowledge that in a couple of days hence, China and Iran will enter into a mega deal.

To recall, the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan, Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, last December while talking to a TV channel RozeNews, had said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the countries that is a rich source of energy, especially oil and gas and it is ready to help its neighbors meet their energy demands.

And Pakistan is one of the nearest neighbor of Iran.

Writes Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani in his fresh article “The Deal of Cooperation” dated April 02, 2021, that “the focus of Pakistan’s foreign policy is the promotion of cordial relations with the international community, but it is a matter of grave concern that our two neighbors, China and Iran, have been under US pressure for a long time. Both countries are also facing many hurdles in order to carry on international trade and foreign business activities”.

Dr. Ramesh is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

His article infers that since both China and Iran are currently the US target so the two aggrieved countries have had necessarily to come closer for their individual benefits and also to keep the region stable.

In addition, there are strong political rumors that India is being asked by the Gulf countries to adopt the route of Pakistan, instead of Iran, for access to the Middle East.

India and the Gulf countries enjoy cordial relations but yet why the Gulf nations now press India to adopt the route of Pakistan to get linked with the Central Asian countries is a point that needs serious debates.

And here again, Pakistan also enjoys cordial ties with the entire Gulf nations- more so with Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

For the Saudis in the recent days and weeks, Pakistan’s PM Khan has become already a role model in so far as green environment revolution is concerned.

The Saudi Prince MBS is learnt to have already invited PM Khan to boost the afforestation drive in his country the way Khan has planted several billion trees in Pakistan that is being taken as an exemplary initiative for others.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman duly announced the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative last week which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent and tackle deforestation, among other plans.

MBS is learnt to have been impressed by Khan’s tree plantation drive in Pakistan.

Moreover, in the recent days the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have held telephonic conversations with each other and have vowed to work for peace and stability in the region and beyond.

It could thus be stated that the Saudis have once again inched closer to Pakistan.

Pakistan is close to Iran-the enemy nation for the entire Arab world and Israel.

But Pakistan is close to both-Iran and the Arab world. This has some meaning underneath.

President Biden has left Pakistan and Nepal this time from attending the Climate Conference. This is mysterious indeed.

Now on Afghanistan:

The Russia-China joint statement also talks on peace in Afghanistan.

On Afghanistan matters, the two sides attach importance to various international efforts together with the Moscow process and hope that all dialogue mechanisms pertaining to Afghanistan will complement with each other.

They also opined that peace and stability in Afghanistan should be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” as stressed many a times by PM Imran Khan.

Khan has reasons to see peace and stability in Afghanistan as it borders the war torn country.

Washington is on record to have offered credits to Islamabad for encouraging Afghan Taliban leaders to the talks with the U.S. that brought the historic February 2020, Doha, deal to set the stage for closing what has been the longest war in American history.

In the meanwhile, Moscow had hosted the international conference on Afghanistan March last month, at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence, and on the Taliban not to launch any offensives in the spring and summer.

Speaking on political terms, Pakistan is the single country in South Asia which enjoys cordial ties with China, the US, The Russian federation and the countries in the Gulf plus Iran.

Pakistan needs now to exhibit its diplomatic acumen for establishing peace and stability in the region and beyond. That’s all.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Has a Massive Amount of Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Daniel 7

Russia Has a Massive Amount of Tactical Nuclear Weapons. Why?

The United States and Russia still actively deploy 230 and 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons respectively—arsenals which are not regulated by treaty, unlike strategic nuclear weapons. But calling them “tactical” and “non-strategic” weapons is arguably a misnomer.

As former Defense Secretary James Mattis once told Congress, “I don’t think there is any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game-changer.”

The term “tactical” implies shorter-range, less destructive, and more “useable” weapons qintended for striking battlefield targets and forward bases in sparsely or unpopulated areas, not wiping out cities, factories and power plants across the globe.

But U.S. and Russian arms control treaties simply define non-strategic weapons as those with a strike range inferior to 3,417 miles. Of course, regional rivals like China, India, and Pakistan consider their non-intercontinental range nuclear weapons to be strategic anyway.

The U.S. non-strategic arsenal is made up of roughly 230 B61 nuclear gravity bombs droppable by jet fighters. 100 to 150 B61s are forward-deployed for use by NATO allies to form a kind of collective-responsibility pact.

However, the Trump administration cited Russia’s development of sophisticated non-strategic weapons as cause to reintroduce less powerful W76-2 nuclear warheads onto Navy submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

However, Russia’s non-strategic arsenal is believed to have shrunk between 2009 and 2018 from 3,800 to 1,910.

Where the hawks are more on point is that Russia has developed more precise, longer-range dual-capable missiles which can be used to deliver either a conventional or nuclear warhead, creating dangerous ambiguity.

Cold War Legacy

In the early years of the Cold War, the Soviet and U.S. militaries thought nuclear weapons would be liberally employed in future wars—and not just for civilization-shattering strategic attacks.

A tank column barreling through your lines? Drop a nuke on them with an artillery piece, fighter bomber, or even a portable “nuclear bazooka.”

Enemy warships pummeling your submarine with depth charges? Respond with the “special weapon” in the torpedo tubes.

Lack enough interceptors to stop an incoming bomber formation? Time to launch a nuclear air-to-air missile.

Many of these applications were essentially ways to work around the limited precision of early guided weapons. NATO, in particular, saw tactical nukes as a last-ditch hedge against the land warfare behemoth that was the Warsaw Pact.

But in the post-Soviet era, Russia isn’t favored to win a prolonged conflict against NATO. So now Moscow sees non-strategic nukes as a more useable hedge against U.S. military power.

But would Moscow actually use nukes?

Moscow’s official policy states it will use nuclear weapons to retaliate against an adversary’s use of a weapon of mass destruction, or to preemptively strike against an imminent nuclear attack identified by Russian intelligence.

However, the policy states Moscow may also use nukes in response to non-nuclear attacks threatening to disarm Russia’s nuclear forces, or that threaten the existence of the Russian state itself.

Unfortunately, these latter conditions could be interpreted broadly. In practice, Russian officials have not hesitated to threaten nuclear weapons use injudiciously.

Arms control expert Hans Kristensen writes:

“…officials explicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons against ballistic missile defense facilities, and in regional scenarios that do not threaten Russia’s survival or involve attacks with weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, the fact that Russian military planners are pursuing a broad range of upgraded and new versions of nuclear weapons suggests that the real doctrine goes beyond basic deterrence and toward regional war-fighting strategies, or even weapons aimed at causing terror.”

One theory is that Russia may make limited nuclear attacks a part of an “escalate to deescalate” strategy in which Russia quickly seizes a disputed territory, then employs a nuclear weapon to shake the resolve of NATO countries assembling forces for a counterattack, bringing an end to hostilities.

However, some critics argue this analysis exaggerates or mischaracterizes the prominence of “escalate to deescalate” in Russian strategic thinking. Instead, nukes may be a way of maintaining “escalation dominance” in the face of superior NATO airpower rather than instrumental to coercive offensive strategy.

Regardless, military analyst Michael Kofman argues the Russian military sees non-strategic nuclear weapons as likely to play a major role in future conflicts:

“…while the Russian military leadership may believe that a nuclear war cannot be won, it does not believe that limited nuclear use will necessarily result in uncontrolled escalation. Russian thinking in this area is based on deterrence by intimidation, or fear inducement, and deterrence through limited use of force…A modernized nuclear arsenal, with lower yields and precise means of delivery, is better able realize such missions, whether it is select use for the purpose of escalation management or nuclear warfighting in geography proximate to Russia’s own borders.”

However, he cautions that calls for the United States to match Russia’s arsenal capability for capability make little sense because Russia’s non-strategic nukes are premised on U.S. conventional military superiority.

Let’s conclude by surveying Russia’s estimated non-strategic nuclear forces based on a report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Naval Nukes

Nearly half of Russia’s non-strategic arsenal (930 warheads) are estimated to belong to the Russian Navy. Of greatest relevance are long-range (1,550 miles) subsonic Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles, as well as P-800 Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles (range 500 miles), both understood to be nuclear-capable.

Both the P-800 and Kalibr can be mounted on Russian frigates, corvettes, and Yasen-class submarines. The P-800 is also deployed on the truck-mounted Bastion-P coastal defense systems, which are believed to have twenty-five nuclear warheads allocated.

The Russian Navy also reportedly still maintains nuclear torpedoes, depth charges, and anti-submarine rockets. Like dropping hand grenades in a fishing pond, these weapons allow the destruction or disabling of submerged vessels in a given sector without having to nail down their exact position.

Nuclear Surface-to-Air Missiles

The same report estimates that Russia still maintains 290 nuclear warheads for surface-to-air missiles for S-300 and S-400 long-range air defense systems—likely for ballistic missile defense contingencies. Similarly, the A135 missile defense system protecting Moscow is believed to have ninety 10-kiloton warheads.

Missile defense is often described as similar to shooting down a rifle bullet with another bullet. Nuclear warheads again offer a cheap solution to the precision problem: instead of having to accurately impact an incoming warhead, an air defense nuke can lean on its considerable blast radius.

Land-Based Batteries

The Russian Army is estimated to possess only seventy nuclear warheads for its missile batteries. Its precise Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile system can also swap its regular warhead for up to a 50-kiloton nuke.

Four battalions of the Iskander-K variant instead launch a variant of the nuclear-capable Kalibur missile called the 9M729 Novator, the development of which ushered in the demise of the INF Treaty regulating intermediate-range missiles.

Non-Strategic Bombers

More of Russia’s non-strategic nuclear firepower comes in the form of 500-600 air-launched weapons carried by Su-34 and older Su-24M attack jets and longer-range Tu-22M supersonic bombers, which can carry dual-capable Kh-32 supersonic anti-ship and land-attack missiles.

Russia has also developed a unique air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile with a 1,200-mile range. This is currently deployed by ultra-fast MiG-31K interceptors, and can also be carried by the Tu-22M3M bombers. In the future, Moscow is expected to employ Su-57 stealth fighters in a nuclear strike role too.

Russia will likely continue to improve the speed, stealth, and precision of its non-strategic nuclear arsenal in the 2020s. Future arms control negotiators might, therefore, seek to finally address ostensibly “non-strategic” nuclear weapons. However, Moscow may only be open to restrictions to non-strategic nukes if exchanged for restrictions to U.S. space-based capabilities and an end to the NATO nuclear sharing policy.

Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including the National Interest, NBC News, Forbes.com and War is Boring.  He holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China.  You can follow his articles on Twitter.

Image: Reuters.

Russia’s tsunami bomb: Revelation 8:10

Russia’s tsunami bomb: Nuclear missile designed to hit the ocean floor

Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )

Gravitas desk

Apr 08, 2021, 10.29 PM (IST)

Russia appears to have developed a nuclear weapon capable of sneaking along the bottom of the sea and detonating along the coastline to flood the area with what one official described as “radioactive tsunamis.”

Defence Experts have emphasized concerns regarding a specific “super-weapon” of Russia ‘The Poseidon 2M39 torpedo’.

It could wipe out entire cities Leaving behind toxic radioactivity. Russia has more futuristic weapons in its arsenal.

According to the reports Russia is planning to carry out different tests of this missile this year. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked for an update at key stages. Putin wants to deploy the Poseidon in the arctic by the summer of 2022.

Advanced weapons are one way for major countries to exert power and Russia isn’t short on ideas.

Putin is putting the weight of the Russian state behind futuristic weapons. One of them is the flying AK-47.

A video had emerged in 2018 shows the prototype of a flying gun.

A report two years ago said that an arms maker had filed a patent for a drone. Equipped with a standard Kalashnikov rifle. But some believe this version of the weapon makes little sense.

Russia also has unmanned tanks it is called the Uran-9.

The Uran-9 is a tracked unmanned combat ground vehicle (UCGV) developed and produced by JSC 766 UPTK (currently by Kalashnikov Concern), and promoted and offered by Rosoboronexport for the international market.

The Uran-9 was first deployed during the Syrian civil war. It didn’t work as intended. But, it was inducted into military service in January 2019.

Last year, Russia successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in the Arctic. The frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, hitting a naval target 450 km away in the Barents Sea at a speed of over Mach 8.

In early January, the same frigate test-fired a Tsirkon missile for the first time, striking a ground target over 500 km away.

Russia’s biggest adversary united states, wants hypersonic missiles of its own.

On Tuesday, the US Air force tried to test one near Los Angeles. But the missile failed to detach from the wing of the plane. The kremlin must be having a good laugh about this one.

(With inputs from 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 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.