Israel Terrorizes the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Iran nuclear: ‘Terrorist act’ at underground Natanz facility

Reuters

A satellite image of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility taken last October

A nuclear facility in Iran was hit by a “terrorist act” a day after it unveiled new advanced uranium centrifuges, a top nuclear official says.

He did not say who was to blame but urged the international community to deal with nuclear terrorism.

Israeli media suggest the incident was a result of an Israeli cyber attack.

Last year, a fire broke out at the Natanz underground facility, which the authorities alleged was the result of cyber sabotage.

The latest incident comes as diplomatic efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal – abandoned by the US under the Trump administration in 2018 – have resumed.

On Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated new centrifuges at the Natanz site, which is key to the country’s uranium enrichment programme, in a ceremony broadcast live on television.

• Why Iran’s nuclear facilities are still vulnerable to attack

• Why do the limits on uranium enrichment matter?

• Iran’s nuclear crisis in 300 words

Centrifuges are needed to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel – but also material for nuclear weapons.

It represented another breach of the country’s undertakings in the 2015 deal, which only permits Iran to produce and store limited quantities of enriched uranium to be used to produce fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

What has Iran been saying?

On Sunday, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, said an “incident” had occurred in the morning involving the nuclear facility’s power network.

Mr Kamalvandi did not provide further details but told Iran’s Fars news agency there there had been “no casualties or leaks”.

Later state TV read out a statement by AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi, in which he described the incident as “sabotage” and “nuclear terrorism”.

“Condemning this despicable move, the Islamic Republic of Iran emphasises the need for the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to deal with this nuclear terrorism,” he was quoted as saying.

“Iran reserves the right to take action against the perpetrators.”

The IAEA said it was aware of the reports of an incident but would not comment.

Last July, sabotage was blamed for a fire at the Natanz site which hit a central centrifuge assembly workshop.

How could Israel be involved?

Israeli public broadcaster Kan said that it could be assumed that the incident was an Israeli cyber operation, citing the discovery in 2010 of the Stuxnet computer virus, believed to have been developed by the US and Israel, which was used to destroy centrifuges at Natanz.

Haaretz newspaper also said the incident could be assumed to be an Israeli cyber attack.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a defence analyst at the Ynet news website, said that with Iran progressing towards nuclear weapons capability it was “reasonable to assume that the problem… might not have been caused by an accident, but by deliberate sabotage intended to slow the nuclear race accelerated by the negotiations with the US on removing sanctions”.

The Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been in intensive care since Donald Trump pulled the US out of it.

Under the Biden administration diplomatic efforts have been redoubled to revive it.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned against a return to the deal, and declared last week that Israel would not be bound by a new agreement with Tehran.

What happened to the deal?

The nuclear deal only allows Iran to produce and store limited quantities of uranium enriched up to 3.67% concentration. Uranium enriched to 90% or more can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Mr Trump said the accord was based on “a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy programme” and reinstated crippling economic sanctions in an attempt to compel Iran to negotiate a replacement.

Iran, which insists it does not want nuclear weapons, refused to do so and retaliated by rolling back a number of key commitments under the accord.

It has since accelerated the breaches in an attempt to increase pressure on the US. They have included operating advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, resuming enrichment to 20% concentration of the most fissile U-235 isotope, and building a stockpile of that material.

Antichrist’s representative survives assassination attempt in Baghdad

Sadr representative survives assassination attempt in Baghdad

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Hazem al-Araji, the representative of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, survived an assassination attempt in Baghdad on Friday, his secretary has told Rudaw.

Ali al-Obeidi said that the incident took place at 5:30pm, in a ceremony commemorating killed members of a Sadr-led militia in al-Shuala district, eastern Baghdad.

“Armed men in two BMWs opened fire near Araji and hit a member of his personal bodyguard, which led to an exchange of fire between Araji’s bodyguards and the militants,” Obeidi said.

He believes political parties are behind the attempted murder, but would not name them. 

In February, Araji was assigned by Sadr to represent “the administration of Basra Governorate” which has seen significant bloodshed since the protest movement began in 2019. 

Hundreds of protesters have been killed and kidnapped by security forces and Iran-backed militias since October 2019. 

The ceremony was commemorating members of the “Mahdi Army,” created in 2003 by Sadr in a response to US invasion at a time. The  Madhi militia was involved in acts of violence and killing of civilians that led to Sadr’s decision to freeze its activities in 2007. However, in February 2020, Sadr said that “defrosting” the Mahdi Army and returning it to the forefront only needs “a matchstick”.

Sadr has been a vocal supporter of reform and anti-corruption campaigns for years. When anti-government protests broke out in October 2019, he sent members of his Saraya al-Salam militia to protect the demonstrators. However, Sadr changed his position and by February 2020, his militias were involved in suppression of the protests. 

Babylon the Great Leaves Iraq

US agrees to redeploy remaining combat forces from Iraq

Updated 08 April 2021 Arab News April 07, 2021 20:00

LONDON: The US has agreed to redeploy remaining combat forces from Iraq after talks in Washington on Wednesday.

Any American troops left in the country will focus on training and advisory tasks, a joint statement from Iraq and the US said, adding the Iraqi military had made substantial progress.

The two countries “reaffirmed their mutual intention to continue bilateral security coordination and cooperation,” the statement said.

The announcement came after a US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue held on Wednesday chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterpart Fuad Hussein.

The timing of the withdrawal would be decided in upcoming technical talks, the statement said.

“The transition of US and other international forces away from combat operations to training, equipping, and assisting the ISF reflects the success of their strategic partnership and ensures support to the ISF’s continued efforts to ensure Daesh (Daesh) can never again threaten Iraq’s stability,” it said.

The announcement comes as Shiite paramilitary factions linked to Iran continue to launch attacks on US forces stationed in the country almost on a daily basis. 

During the talks, Iraq reaffirmed its commitment to protect the personnel, convoys, and diplomatic facilities belonging to members of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh.

The discussions also covered security, counterterrorism, economics, energy and the environment.

Washington expressed its support for Iraq’s efforts to reform its power sector and “both countries affirmed their support for Iraq diversifying its sources of energy by building greater ties to its neighbors in Jordan and in the GCC, including by moving forward with electric grid interconnection projects.”

The two sides pledged to work closely together as Iraq commits to implementing reforms to diversify its economy, improve the business climate, and help create a more vibrant private sector, the statement added.

The two countries also discussed greater cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the management of water resources.

The Nuclear Horns Grow in Asia: Daniel

Asia’s growing missile arsenals demand a response

Brad Glosserman

Apr 6, 2021

CARTOONARTS INTERNATIONAL

Missiles are everywhere. Increasingly accurate technology combined with a plummeting cost curve have made missiles the weapon of choice for defense ministries around the world. Historically, however, missiles have been an afterthought when governments weigh arms control options. That indifference must end: It is time for a real push to rein in the spread of such weapons, especially in Asia.

In a 2020 report, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee bluntly explained the logic behind missile proliferation: They’re viewed “as cost-effective weapons and symbols of national power.” The technology has become so cheap that it’s hard to find a defense establishment that doesn’t have its own inventory and the number of countries building indigenous production capabilities is expanding as well. Ominously, arsenals aren’t just growing but missiles themselves are becoming more capable — faster, more mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate while traveling ever longer distances.

Considerable attention is paid to North Korea’s growing arsenal and its modernization efforts –Japan is threatened by a widening array of missiles and the U.S. homeland can now be hit, too — as well as that of China. The CSIS Missile Defense Project credits China with “the most active and diverse missile development program in the world.” Worryingly, its researchers conclude that Beijing’s missile modernization efforts “degrade the survivability of foundational elements of American power projection like the aircraft carrier and forward air bases.”

India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed neighbors and adversaries, continue to update their missile inventories, and while Southeast Asian nations have abjured the nuclear capability of those two rivals, they are expanding their missile arsenals as well. The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have expressed interest in acquiring a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia. And Hanoi last year unveiled a locally produced cruise missile (made under license from Russia).

Australia announced last year that it planned to acquire long-range missiles, a decision that Japan continues to debate. South Korea has increased the range and payload size of its missile systems (with U.S. agreement), and Taiwan, after getting Trump administration approval to buy new U.S. missiles, endorsed the acquisition of strike capabilities in its newest Quadrennial Defense Review, released just last month. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mike Esper described the situation well in 2019 when he said that missile threats are “growing disproportionately to other capabilities” and “writ large, the rest of the world is not developing new fighter and bomber aircraft; they are developing missiles.” Nothing has changed since then.

Despite this proliferation — or perhaps because of it — missiles have not been a focus of arms control efforts. Negotiations have addressed payloads — not delivery systems -— most notably whether warheads carried nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

One of the few exceptions is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), established in the 1980s by Western governments to try to halt the proliferation of nuclear-capable delivery systems; it was supplemented by the 2002 Hague Code of Conduct, which provided a set of confidence-building measures. The proliferation of missiles is proof of the limits of the MTCR.

The only successful missile arms control effort was the 1987 U.S.–Soviet Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned cruise missiles, land-based ballistic missiles and missile launchers with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. That deal collapsed in 2019 under the weight of charges that Russia was cheating and that it did not include China, whose vast missile inventories — 95% of which were asserted to fall under the terms of the treaty had it been a signatory — undermined the Asian military balance.

Trump administration officials insisted that new INF nuclear discussions would have to include China, a position that Beijing flatly rejected. In that case, those same U.S. officials reasoned, the U.S. should deploy its missiles among allies in the region. Those allies have been reluctant to do so, although debates about strike options in Tokyo, Canberra and Taipei indicate that the problem is not a divergence in threat perceptions.

Defense officials argue that missiles are needed to deter. But missile proliferation is dangerous, especially as those weapons become more capable. Greater accuracy will reduce collateral damage, lowering restraints on use. Higher speeds and the prospect of “use it or lose it” dilemmas will put a premium on quick decision-making. Increasing mobility and a need for dispersion (because of the above factors) will require ever-more robust command and control capabilities. All make escalation more likely.

Proliferation and the resulting rising dangers should put missiles high on the agenda of regional security conferences. That hasn’t happened. Notably, however, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, with support from the German government, launched in 2019 the Missile Dialogue Initiative (MDI) to focus attention on this issue. It has held two international conferences and published a series of papers that address elements of the missile proliferation problem.

David Santoro, a colleague who directs the nuclear policy program at Pacific Forum, my old home, and I last month authored a paper for the MDI, which, after providing considerably more depth and detail than is here, calls for an Asian missile initiative in which regional governments would discuss this problem, share perspectives and try to reach consensus on a set of norms and principles about missile developments and deployments.

While an arms control agreement would be ideal, it is too much to expect now. Confidence building measures are possible, however, although it will take considerable time to reach what many might consider common sense measures. Any agreement will likely be facilitated by the fact that we are proposing regional discussions — rather than a global conversation — in which participants will have more similar assumptions and outlooks (although differences even among them can be profound).

Our proposal is easy to criticize. Defining a ballistic missile is increasingly difficult. Identifying who belongs at even this smaller table will be a challenge. Some countries straddle regions — China, Russia, the United States — and even a subregional dialogue, which Santoro endorses, will be problematic.

North Korea must be invited, even if its refusal to participate is virtually ordained. A smart leadership in Pyongyang would take the chance to engage, however, both for the status benefits (a seat at the table) and the chance to get its views heard.

Getting China to the table will be a big challenge. Beijing resists all arms control proposals, wary of any obligation to provide transparency about its military. A dialogue about missiles sidesteps China’s loudest objection to nuclear arms talks: the claim that its nuclear arsenal is a fraction the size of that of the U.S. and Russia and those two superpowers must first come down to China’s level before it will join any negotiations. Missiles are one area in which it enjoys an advantage over regional adversaries so by its own logic China should be willing to talk, if not make cuts, but it’s far more likely that Beijing will be loath to discuss them, much less put them on the table.

Obstinacy makes sense when facing a limited missile threat. In a world of growing missile arsenals, however, one in which a good number of those proliferators might be targeting China, Beijing’s calculus may change. It’s a long shot, but one well worth trying.

Brad Glosserman is deputy director of and visiting professor at the Center for Rule-Making Strategies at Tama University as well as senior adviser (nonresident) at Pacific Forum. He is author of “Peak Japan: The End of Great Ambitions” (Georgetown University Press, 2019). His paper, with David Santoro, “Time for a reckoning: Missiles have flown under the radar for too long in Asia,” can be found here.

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.

Renewed demonstrations in Nasiriyah as violence escalates from Antichrist’s men

Renewed demonstrations in Nasiriyah as violence escalates against protesters

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Protests renewed in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on Sunday after an explosive device detonated at a Saturday memorial ceremony to commemorate those killed in Iraq’s protest movement, an activist has confirmed to Rudaw English.

Three people were injured at an explosion at the Tishreen martyrs ceremony, activist Muhammad al-Khayyat told Rudaw English on Sunday. One is in a critical condition.

Video shared to social media showed a group of protesters erecting tents in the city’s central al-Habboubi Square on Sunday in preparation for an open sit-in demanding authorities reveal those behind the killing of protesters and calling on the government to protect activists from threats, kidnappings, assassinations.

At least 600 people have been killed across Iraq and more than 18,000 injured since the protests began, according to figures released by Amnesty International last year.

In November 2020, protesters in Habboubi Square were forced out of their tents and shot at by supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leaving seven people dead and scores wounded. Protesters moved back into the square a week later and vowed to continue protesting.

In February, bloody clashes left several dead and wounded in the city.

RELATED: Protesters gather across Iraqi cities in support of Nasiriyah demonstrators

“We closed a number of official departments in the governorate, in addition to main roads in preparation for the open sit-in,” Khayyat said.

Protests said they reject Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s decision to appoint Abdul Ghani al-Asadi as the Dhi Qar governor after Nathim al-Waeli stepped down following bloody protests calling for his dismissal.

Local government officials in other provinces have also come under fire, accused of involvement in the kidnap of activists.

Haidar al-Khashan, who was kidnapped and held for several hours early Thursday by unknown gunmen, accused agencies affiliated to the Governor of Muthanna of kidnapping and threatening him on Sunday.

“Four people got out of a government Land Cruiser, kidnapped me in front of my mother, handcuffed me and put a bag on my head before taking me to an unknown place and interrogating me for an hour and a half,” Kashan said told Rudaw English on Sunday.

The people who interrogated Khashan said they were from Samawah, and threatened to kill him if he went to demonstrations against Governor Ahmed Manfi, according to Khashan.

“Today we kidnapped you and we will release you, but tomorrow we will finish you by placing a bullet in your head,” Khashan quoted the kidnappers as saying.

“What hurt me the most when I was kidnapped was my mother; she is still in shock,” Kashan said.

“I fear for my life now, I cannot go out alone at night, and I make sure to go out with my friends during the day,” he added.

A day after the incident Kashan was back on the streets, leading a large demonstration in the city of Samawah on Friday.

“We will not be afraid of such threats, and we will not back down,” he said, pledging to continue protesting until the local government is removed from power.

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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The forgotten nuclear threat: Revelation 16


Keystone/Getty Images

February 28, 2021

Constraints on nuclear proliferation have lapsed or been loosened in recent years. How great is the danger? Here’s everything you need to know:
Who has nuclear weapons?

4 The vast majority — some 91 percent — of the world’s 13,400 nuclear weapons are owned by the U.S. and Russia, which each have the power to render Earth an uninhabitable nuclear wasteland. The other early developers of nuclear arsenals were the U.K., China, and France. In an attempt to prevent further spread, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was adopted in 1970, pledging those five powers to eventually disarm in return for other states promising not to pursue the bomb. But more than 50 years later, all four of the countries that aren’t party to the treaty — India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea — have nuclear arsenals (although Israel has never confirmed it), and at least one signatory, Iran, has taken steps to build its own. Another treaty, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, just came into force in January, but none of the nuclear states signed it. Though public concern about nuclear war has faded since countries became preoccupied with terrorism, climate change, and now, viral pandemics, the threat remains very real. Potential triggers of nuclear conflict include India’s border disputes with both Pakistan and China, Iran’s threats to destroy Israel, Israel’s pledge to prevent Iran from getting nukes, China’s designs on Taiwan, and North Korea’s threat to South Korea.
What about arms control treaties?

5 Few remain. During the Reagan era, the U.S. and the Soviet Union agreed to slash their nuclear arsenals, but most arms control treaties since then have lapsed. The Bush administration pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, which sparked an arms race in missile-defense systems, and President Trump yanked the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, saying that Russia had violated it. So the only remaining arms treaty the U.S. observes is New START, a pact with Russia negotiated under the Obama administration. That treaty cut the number of deployed nuclear warheads that each side can have by more than half, to 1,550. Former President Trump was planning to let the treaty expire this month. But just after taking office, President Biden agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend the treaty for five more years. Biden also will try to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

What is Iran’s capability?

6 Israeli intelligence says that the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist in November set Iran’s nuclear program back, and that it would need two years to build a nuclear weapon. In the early 2000s, the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered that Iran had been cheating on the NPT with a clandestine program to enrich uranium. Under the 2015 treaty negotiated by the Obama administration, Iran agreed to radically slash its stockpile of uranium and limit the number of centrifuges that it can use for enrichment. But since the Trump administration pulled out of the deal in 2018 and hit Iran with new sanctions, Iran has resumed production of 20 percent enriched uranium, getting nine-tenths of the way toward weapons-grade fuel.
What happens if Iran goes nuclear?

7 It would set off a chain of proliferation. Saudi Arabia, Iran’s enemy, has said it would seek nukes if Iran got them, and Turkey and Egypt could follow. The threat from North Korea, meanwhile, is alarming to Japan and South Korea, where factions have argued for the development of their own nuclear weapons as deterrents. Since it first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006, North Korea has built dozens of bombs and hundreds of missiles, and it now has intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach anywhere — including the continental United States. Our allies are now wondering, says Ivo Daalder of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “Will you sacrifice us for you? Will you save Seattle at the price of Seoul?” The more nuclear weapons there are in the world, of course, the more likely it is that one could be fired by accident or fall into terrorist hands.
What comes next?

8 The next nuclear summit — the NPT review conference held every five years — takes place in August. That will be a chance for the Biden administration to reassure allies and to open negotiations with rising power China. China is planning to double its arsenal to 200 warheads over the next decade, and it has been pouring money into new missile designs. Adm. Charles Richard, head of the U.S. strategic command, says China will soon be a nuclear peer of the U.S., just as Russia is. “For the first time ever, the U.S. is going to face two peer-capable nuclear competitors who are different, who you have to deter differently,” he said. “We have never faced that situation before.”

The trouble with missile defense

9 Missile defense is a system designed to shoot down incoming nuclear missiles before they hit. But if a country can shoot down, say, 100 enemy missiles, the enemy has an incentive to fire 200 to overwhelm the defense, leading to an offensive and defensive arms race. So in their arms control treaty, the U.S. and Soviets banned most missile defenses, relying instead on deterrence — the threat of mutual assured destruction. The U.S. pulled out of that pact in 2002, saying it needed the ability to defend against a launch by a terrorist or a rogue state such as Iran or North Korea. Since then, it has deployed defense systems in South Korea and sold anti-ballistic Patriot missiles to more than a dozen countries. The danger with missile defense is that if a country believes it can reliably defend itself against retaliatory nukes, it loses the deterrence of conducting its own first strike. But so far, despite billions in expenditures, missile defense is more of a fantasy than a reality. Patriot missiles failed to knock down most missiles fired by enemies in the Saudi-Houthi conflict and the 1991 Gulf War. In fact, says arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis, there is no evidence that a Patriot “has ever intercepted a long-range ballistic missile in combat.”

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

Israel vows war if Hamas wins parliamentary elections: Revelation 11

Israel warns it ‘will stop everything’ if Hamas wins parliamentary elections

March 20, 2021

Supporters of Hamas come together to celebrate their anniversary in Gaza on 17 December 2018 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

April 3, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Head of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rukun has warned that Israel “will stop everything” if Hamas wins the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Times of Israel reported.

In an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan, he said: “That, at least, will be my recommendation, based on things that happened in the past and on what I see in the field.”

Abu Rukun told Kan, according to the Times of Israel, that he conveyed his stance to the Palestinians via indirect channels.

He stressed: “It is a very big mistake to go to these elections due to the high risk that Hamas will win, and therefore anything that serves this [a Hamas victory]. My recommendation is to not go along with it.”

The Israeli official reiterated that Israel should prevent carrying out the Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Kan reported Shin Bet security agency Head Nadav Argaman urging Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to scrap the Palestinian parliament’s upcoming elections if Hamas takes part.

Replying to Argaman, Abbas responded: “I do not work for you. I will decide if there will be an election and with whom. You built Hamas, not me.”

Last week, Secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee Jibril Rajoub recognised that Abbas faced Israeli and international pressure to cancel the election.

The last Palestinian parliamentary election was held in 2006 when Hamas achieved an overwhelming majority, while Fatah, the PA, Israel, Western countries, the US and most Arab countries did not recognise Hamas’s transparent victory.

Iran is Nuclear Ready: Daniel 8:4

Iran’s 20-pct enriched uranium stockpile hits 50 kg: atomic chief

TEHRAN, April 3 (Xinhua) — The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Iran has produced 50 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium, Press TV reported Saturday.

The 20-percent uranium enrichment process has been launched as part of Iran’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which was approved by the Iranian parliament in December 2020.

According to the parliament’s bill, the AEOI should produce 120 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium within a year after the implementation of the action plan which began on Jan. 4, said Ali-Akbar Salehi.

Iranian authorities have said a boost in uranium enrichment, along with other measures to reduce some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal and the failure of European signatories to protect Iran’s interests amid U.S. energy and banking sanctions.

“If there is an agreement and America returns to the JCPOA and Iran verifies that, Tehran can instantly stop 20-pct enrichment and other expansions,” Salehi noted. Enditem