Nuclear War Could Mean Annihilation, But Babylon the Great Is Messing Around

Nuclear missiles against fiery sky
The Biden administration hasn’t just remained mum about current nuclear war dangers — it’s actively exacerbating them.

Nuclear War Could Mean Annihilation, But Biden and Congress Are Messing Around

Norman Solomon 

Norman Solomon is co-founder and national director of RootsAction. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the author of a dozen books, including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. His book Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State was republished this year in a new edition as a free e-book. He founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he is executive director.

President Joe Biden and top subordinates have refused to publicly acknowledge the danger of nuclear war — even though it is now higher than at any other time in at least 60 years. Their silence is insidious and powerful, and their policy of denial makes grassroots activism all the more vital for human survival.

In the aftermath of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy was more candid. Speaking at American University, he said: “A single nuclear weapon contains almost 10 times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War.” Kennedy also noted, “The deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.” Finally, he added, “All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours.”

Kennedy was no dove. He affirmed willingness to use nuclear weapons. But his speech offered some essential honesty about nuclear war — and the need to seriously negotiate with the Kremlin in the interests of averting planetary incineration — an approach sorely lacking from the United States government today.

At the time of Kennedy’s presidency, nuclear war would have been indescribably catastrophic. Now — with large arsenals of hydrogen bombs and what scientists know about “nuclear winter” — experts have concluded that a nuclear war would virtually end agriculture and amount to omnicide (the destruction of human life on earth).

In an interview after publication of his book The Doomsday Machine, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg summed up what he learned as an insider during the Kennedy administration:

What I discovered — to my horror, I have to say — is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff contemplated causing with our own first strike 600 million deaths, including 100 million in our own allies. Now, that was an underestimate even then because they weren’t including fire, which they found was too incalculable in its effects. And of course, fire is the greatest casualty-producing effect of thermonuclear weapons. So the real effect would’ve been over a billion — not 600 million — about a third of the Earth’s population then at that time.

Ellsberg added:

What turned out to be the case 20 years later in 1983 and confirmed in the last 10 years very thoroughly by climate scientists and environmental scientists is that that high ceiling of a billion or so was wrong. Firing weapons over the cities, even if you call them military targets, would cause firestorms in those cities like the one in Tokyo in March of 1945, which would loft into the stratosphere many millions of tons of soot and black smoke from the burning cities. It wouldn’t be rained out in the stratosphere. It would go around the globe very quickly and reduce sunlight by as much as 70 percent, causing temperatures like that of the Little Ice Age, killing harvests worldwide and starving to death nearly everyone on Earth. It probably wouldn’t cause extinction. We’re so adaptable. Maybe 1 percent of our current population of 7.4 billion could survive, but 98 or 99 percent would not.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine four months ago, the risks of global nuclear annihilation were at a peak. In January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set its Doomsday Clock at a mere 100 seconds from apocalyptic Midnight, compared to six minutes a decade ago. As Russia’s horrific war on Ukraine has persisted and the U.S. government has bypassed diplomacy in favor of massive arms shipments, the hazards of a nuclear war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers have increased.

But the Biden administration has not only remained mum about current nuclear war dangers; it’s actively exacerbating them. Those at the helm of U.S. foreign policy now are ignoring the profound lessons that President Kennedy drew from the October 1962 confrontation with Russia over its nuclear missiles in Cuba. “Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war,” Kennedy said. “To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world.”

In sync with the overwhelmingly hawkish U.S. media, members of Congress and “national security” establishment, Biden has moved into new Cold War overdrive. The priority aim is to make shrewd moves on the geopolitical chessboard — not to engage in diplomacy that could end the slaughter in Ukraine and prevent the war from causing widespread starvation in many countries.

As scholar Alfred McCoy just wrote, “With the specter of mass starvation looming for some 270 million people and, as the [United Nations] recently warned, political instability growing in those volatile regions, the West will, sooner or later, have to reach some understanding with Russia.” Only diplomacy can halt the carnage in Ukraine and save the lives of millions now at risk of starvation. And the dangers of nuclear war can be reduced by rejecting the fantasy of a military solution to the Ukraine conflict.

In recent months, the Russian government has made thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been shipping huge quantities of weapons to Ukraine, while Washington has participated in escalating the dangerous rhetoric. President Biden doubled down on conveying that he seeks regime change in Moscow, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has declared that the U.S. wants the Russian military “weakened” — an approach that is opposite from Kennedy’s warning against “confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”

We’d be gravely mistaken to wait for Washington’s officialdom to level with us about nuclear war dangers, much less take steps to mitigate them. The power corridors along Pennsylvania Avenue won’t initiate the needed changes. The initiatives and the necessary political pressure must come from grassroots organizing.

A new “Defuse Nuclear War” coalition of about 90 national and regional organizations (which I’m helping to coordinate) launched in mid-June with a livestream video featuring an array of activists and other eloquent speakers, drawn together by the imperative of preventing nuclear war. (They included antiwar activists, organizers, scholars and writers Daniel Ellsberg, Mandy Carter, David Swanson, Medea Benjamin, Leslie Cagan, Pastor Michael McBride, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Hanieh Jodat Barnes, Judith Ehrlich, Khury Petersen-Smith, India Walton, Emma Claire Foley, retired Army Col. Ann Wright and former California Gov. Jerry Brown.)

The U.S. government’s willingness to boost the odds of nuclear war is essentially a political problem. It pits the interests of the people of the world — in desperate need of devoting adequate resources to human needs and protection of the environment — against the rapacious greed of military contractors intertwined with the unhinged priorities of top elected officials.

The Biden administration and the bipartisan leadership in Congress have made clear that their basic approach to the surging danger of nuclear war is to pretend that it doesn’t exist — and to encourage us to do the same. Such avoidance might seem like a good coping strategy for individuals. But for a government facing off against the world’s other nuclear superpower, the denial heightens the risk of exterminating almost all human life. There’s got to be a better way.Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Antichrist Challenges Rivals, Prepares for New Protests

Iraq: Sadr Challenges Rivals, Prepares for New Protests

Leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr has continued to challenge his opponents of the Shiite Coordination Framework and former allies in the Sovereignty Alliance and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Sadr has condemned President Barham Salih following reports that he did not sign the law criminalizing normalization with Israel.

Sadr revealed other reasons for his withdrawal from the parliament, aside from what he announced earlier about not wanting to participate with the corrupt.

He held his Shiite opponents from the forces of the Coordination Framework full responsibility for abandoning his plans to form a national majority government.

He blamed his opponents for disapproving the nomination of his cousin, Jaafar, for the position of prime minister, knowing that Jaafar is “the son of their religious reference and their martyr, and they rejected him.”

Sadr also attacked the politicians and their blocs who betrayed him without naming them.

Sadr denied his previous statement about withdrawing from the parliament for not wanting to join the corrupt, saying some parties are under the illusion that his decision meant handing Iraq to the corrupt.

He asserted that the decision must submit to the people’s will and determination.

Earlier, pictures and banners were hung on several streets and central and southern cities in Baghdad with the phrase “be fully prepared.”

Moreover, Sadr’s Shiite opponents are still unable to resolve their differences on how to share positions between the Coordination Framework that includes the State of Law Coalition, Fatah Alliance, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Sanad, and Ataa movement.

Sadr justified his participation in the October 2021 elections, saying that “our return to the elections was for two important things: to confront normalization with Israel, which was criminalized, and against obscenity [homosexuality], so let’s see what they do.”

“Will they enact a new and detailed law, especially with the escalation of Western colonial pressures against those who oppose it?” wondered Sadr.

The Sadrist leader also said he withdrew to see what his opponents would do, especially after they said the elections were rigged.

“Will they continue to form a government from fraudulent elections?”

Meanwhile, political observers fear that the delay in forming the cabinet may justify protests by Sadr supporters and may include an operation to storm the Green Zone, especially after several top Sadrist leaders supported Sadr’s steps.

The government formation did not witness any positive progress after Sadr withdrew, and the Coordination Framework became the biggest parliamentary bloc.

The Framework forces disagreed over the positions of prime minister and first deputy speaker, coupled with another disagreement between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union regarding nominating a President.

A parliament dissolution and early elections are possible if the Sadrist demonstrations erupt, which the Tishreen Movement is expected to join.

Babylon the Great’s test of new hypersonic missile fails

 US Air Force conducts latest hypersonic weapon flight test (photo credit: REUTERS)

US test of new hypersonic missile fails amid China, Russia pressure

With Russia, China and North Korea developing their own hypersonic missile capabilities, with some being able to carry nuclear warheads, the Pentagon is feeling the pressure.

A flight test of a new US hypersonic missile system in Hawaii, named “Conventional Prompt Strike,” failed, most likely due to a problem that took place after ignition, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

“An anomaly occurred following ignition of the test asset,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman said. “the Department remains confident that it is on track to field offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities on target dates beginning in the early 2020s.”

“Program officials have initiated a review to determine the cause to inform future tests,” he said. “While the Department was unable to collect data on the entirety of the planned flight profile, the information gathered from this event will provide vital insights.”

“While the Department was unable to collect data on the entirety of the planned flight profile, the information gathered from this event will provide vital insights.”Pentagon spokesman Navy Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman

The recent failure marks the second unsuccessful test flight of the prototype weapon, in October 2021, a booster malfunction, which prevented the missile from leaving the launch pad, rendered the weapon system’s first test flight a failure as well.

The Conventional Prompt Strike weapon system is expected to be installed on Zumwalt destroyers and Virginia-class submarines.

With Russia, China and North Korea developing their own hypersonic missile capabilities, with some being able to carry nuclear warheads, the Pentagon is feeling pressure to deploy the newly developed weapon system as soon as possible.

China

The Chinese military believes hypersonic weapons will change the nature of the battle and is investing heavily to advance their capabilities.

“China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught US intelligence by surprise,” according to the Financial Times.

China has been working on these missiles for decades, according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency’s 2019 China Military Power Report, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “is developing a range of technologies to counter US and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MARVs), MIRVs [multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, thermal shielding, and hypersonic glide vehicles.”

On 1 October 2019, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, in a parade that reviewed the PLA’s troops and weapon systems, the PLA revealed a new hypersonic missile, the Dong Feng (DF) 17.

A PRC blog devoted to military affairs described the DF-17 as a “combat-ready hypersonic weapon.”

China is investing heavily in heat-seeking hypersonic weapons, claiming that they “will be able to hit a moving car at five times the speed of sound,” with a new system that is set to deploy by 2025, according to scientists involved in the project.

The research team, led by Yang Xiaogang from the PLA Rocket Force University of Engineering in Xian, said “important progress” had been made towards solving the main problem of how to pinpoint a moving target at extreme speeds.

Yang and his colleagues from the university’s College of Missile Engineering have been given a deadline of 2025 to come up with solutions to the seemingly intractable challenges of hypersonic technology.

Over distance, the infrared signature of a small moving target “constitutes just a few pixels without detailed information such as shape, texture and structure,” making identification and tracking “extremely difficult”, they explained in a paper published in the Chinese peer-reviewed journal Infrared and Laser Engineering.

The hypersonic heat-seeker would also be able to go after a target in the air, according to a separate paper in the series by Qin Hanlin from the school of optoelectronic engineering at Xidian University.

Qin and his team demonstrated a technology that would allow a hypersonic ground-to-air missile to hit a target as small as a commercial drone. The missile could identify the drone hanging low over buildings or trees with nearly 90 percent accuracy, they said.

The PLA’s hypersonic program employs about 3,000 scientists, 50 percent more than those working on traditional weapons, according to a study published in January by the Chinese peer-reviewed journal Tactical Missile Technology.

Russia

In March 2022, the Russian navy conducted a test of a prospective hypersonic missile, the ‘Zircon,’ in a demonstration of the military’s long-range strike capability amid the fighting in Ukraine.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Northern Fleet in the White Sea launched the Zircon cruise missile in the Barents Sea, successfully hitting a practice target in the White Sea about 1,000 kilometers away, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service later this year, according to Russian sources.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines and could be used against both enemy ships and ground targets. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

Russian officials have boasted about Zircon’s capability, claiming that it’s impossible to intercept with existing anti-missile systems.

Earlier, in 2018, a demonstration of the ‘Avangard’ hypersonic missile proved successful, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.

After separating from its carrier in the stratosphere, the HGV maneuvered 6000 kilometers across Siberia at a searing Mach 27, according to Russian officials, then hit a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Avangard “the perfect New Year’s gift for the country.” Russia’s Defence Ministry claimed that it has put the nuclear-armed HGV into combat duty in 2020, allowing Putin to claimthat Russia was the first country armed with functional hypersonic weapons.

All the Nations Will Be Destroyed: Revelation 16

Vladimir Putin

Putin’s ‘brandishing of nuclear sword’ to backfire as ‘Russia will also be destroyed’

VLADIMIR Putin will not launch a nuclear missile as if it does Russia itself would risk being wiped off the map, a military expert has said.

Russia’s ‘brandishing of nuclear sword’ discussed by expert

Mark Voyger, Senior Fellow of the Centre of European Analysis, has dismissed Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats as “unthinkable” as Russia would also disappear from the map if it were to execute its threat. Putin has reportedly told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko the Kremlin will hand over nuclear-capable missile systems to Belarus in the coming months. Putin’s latest announcement follows a series of veiled nuclear threats against the West and Ukrainein its more than 100-day war against its neighbour.

Mr Voyger argues Russia is again bluffing and attempting to intimidate.

When asked about the potential for Russian response to the Kaliningrad blockade, Mr Voyger said: “For as long as the Russian army, especially the majority of the ground forces, are bogged down in Ukraine with no easy end, with no easy victory, they won’t. They won’t be able to.

“I don’t think Russia can take any offensive action at least in terms of land warfare. You know, they keep talking about brandishing the nuclear sword. But you know, global nuclear war is not the purpose of this regime, what they want. They will also be destroyed like anybody else. So, that’s out of the question.”

On the type of response he would expect, he said: “I would expect some hybrid actions, maybe pressure of course along the borders, maybe subversive moves, cyber pressure, potentially the threat of tactical nukes.

“That’s the most probable in terms of military action Russia would use. But they’re not in a position to fight NATO, especially with an additional 300,000 troops on the eastern flank. That’s unthinkable.”

According to a Kremlin readout, Putin told Lukashensko the short-range ballistic missiles systems with a range of up to 310 miles “can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions.”

Some military analysts fear the humiliation for Putin will lead Russia to deploy chemical or nuclear weapons. As a result, several world leaders have suggested offering him a way out such as giving up parts of Ukraine’s territory.

However, CIA Director William Burns told the US Congress that has not seen any “practical evidence” suggesting Putin is preparing nuclear weapons for immediate use.

Vladimir Putin

In early June, Putin announced Russia will deploy the nuclear-capable missile RS-28, also known as Satan II, by the end of this year in case of a “threat” to Russia’s “sovereignty.”

Former chief Treasury Secretary David Mellor branded Putin as a “madman”, linking his deteriorating sanity to repeated nuclear threats.

“If he really is dying of various diseases that have lined up to get him, would he like to take the rest of us with him?” he asked.

Vladimir Putin
Macron in embarrassing slip-up as secret conversation with Biden caught on mic
Putin taunts West with chilling threat as it publishes coordinates of the Pentagon

In a Kremlin meeting on Tuesday, President Putin said: “Successful test of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile has been carried out. It is planned that the first such complex will be on combat duty by the end of the year,” according to Russian state-owned publication RIA Novosti.

Upon announcing its deployment, Putin added: “This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.”

What’s the Antichrist’s endgame?

What s Muqtada Al-Sadr endgame

What’s Muqtada Al-Sadr endgame?

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr has always been unpredictable, but his order to his followers to walk out of Iraq’s parliament after winning a majority of seats seems bewildering, writes Salah Nasrawi

Since his mass “Sadrist Trend” movement emerged as the largest vote-getter in Iraq’s parliamentary elections more than eight months ago, speculation surrounding the powerful Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr has been nothing if not spectacular.

Some have claimed that Al-Sadr was poised to become the country’s key political power broker and its kingmaker. Others have said that he would be Iraq’s saviour from unruly Shia militias. Yet others have praised his victory as an opportunity for the US and regional allies to join the anti-Iran camp.

On 12 June, however, Al-Sadr surprised his supporters and detractors alike by directing lawmakers loyal to him in the Iraqi parliament to resign amid a prolonged political impasse over the formation of the country’s next government.

Iraq’s parliament last week swore in new lawmakers to replace the Al-Sadr’s bloc legislators who collectively quit the 329-member assembly. Only 64 new members took the oath while nine others have yet to join.

The replacements have made the resignations of Al-Sadr’s followers irreversible and strengthened the power of rival Iran-backed politicians in the parliament who are believed to have increased their seats to over 120.

There has always been something mercurial about Al-Sadr’s tactics in steering his way through Iraq’s messy politics. He has outmanoeuvred other Shia leaders by placing himself in a position of power and reinventing himself not just as a Shia warlord, but also as a popular leader with a messianic national mission.

None of this is new. But his decision to order the mass resignation of his MPs has set off a new round of guessing at what Al-Sadr’s objectives are and conjectures about how to fit him into Iraq’s chaotic political system.

Al-Sadr has vowed that he will introduce sweeping changes to the way the country has been run since the US-led invasion in 2003. He has proposed forming a “national majority government” that would imply the dissolution of the sectarian and ethnic power-sharing quotas that have framed successive post-invasion governments.

He has also promised that a new government led by his faction would follow a non-aligned line in foreign policy, signalling his intention to stifle Iran’s influence in Iraq and enhancing the country’s national sovereignty.

In order to achieve his goals, Al-Sadr broke away from the main Shia parties and allied himself with a major Sunni bloc in parliament led by Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Al-Halbousi and a Kurdish bloc headed by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani.

To many observers, had this been followed through it would have brought about a drastic change in Iraq’s politics and sounded the death knell of the entrenched forces in government that have overseen instability, endemic dysfunction, and deeply entrenched corruption in the country.

But the “Save the Homeland” Coalition, as it was known, failed to patch together a majority able to agree on a new president of the republic and on the appointment of Al-Sadr’s cousin Jaafar Al-Sadr as the new prime minister to succeed the incumbent Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Al-Sadr’s later order to his 74 parliamentary followers, more than a fifth of the total number of MPs, to resign and his decision to suspend his participation in the political process has driven Iraq into a period of political uncertainty.

Many have asked why Al-Sadr lobbed a political hand grenade into the raging disputes in Iraq, igniting a fresh battle in the two-decade crisis when his election victory had seemingly played to his advantage and speculation was rife that he would now pounce on his opponents.

For many Iraq watchers, Al-Sadr’s decision to call it quits seemed bizarre, with some even seeing it as insane. Indeed, even many of his supporters, who did not believe that he would give up and expected him to fight more dirtily instead, were shocked at the move and began to doubt his grasp on reason.

Being virtually in control of key posts in Iraq’s federal government and in local administration and the security forces and in command of one of the country’s key paramilitary group, the Peace Brigades, Al-Sadr has long been one of the most powerful political figures in the country.

Moreover, he has been basking in the glow of the regional and international media, which has described him as Iraq’s best hope for much-touted government reforms and as a nationalist leader able to confront Iran’s increasing influence in the country.

As the biggest winner in Iraq’s 2021 parliamentary elections and with a comfortable majority in parliament with the support of the two powerful Kurdish and Sunni blocs, nothing seemed to stand in Al-Sadr’s way or stop his faction from leading the “national majority” government he had aspired to.   

Yet, in the political poker game with his tricky and tough Iraqi Shia opponents, Al-Sadr showed impatience in playing by the rules in order to veer right and still win instead of leaving the game.

There are several explanations as to why Al-Sadr acted in the way that he did.

One explanation says that Al-Sadr underestimated his rivals in the “Coordination Framework” alliance that groups all the Iran-backed factions in the Iraqi parliament together and in the resilience this showed in stalling his efforts to form a new government.

After his election victory, Al-Sadr displayed a “strong-man” attitude in dismissing his Shia foes as corrupt and unworthy of making deals with and showed a combination of desperation and grandiosity rather than realism and political skills.

Another explanation says that Al-Sadr showed signs of overreaching himself in his bids to build his “national majority” coalition with Barzani’s KDP and the Sunni alliance led by Parliamentary Speaker Al-Halbousi without attending to the complicating factors created by the post-US invasion power-sharing system in Iraq.

While Al-Sadr may have underestimated the communal ambitions and agendas of his Kurdish and Sunni partners, such as power and oil-sharing, which could have overburdened any Sadrist-led government, he could also have miscalculated internal divisions within the two communities that could blow up or be exploited by his Shia opponents.

A third explanation says that despite being touted as a vehement opponent to Iranian influence in Iraq, Al-Sadr has lacked the energy and grip to upend Iran’s power in the country. As a result, his many times promised call for the expulsion of the influence of the Islamic Republic from Iraq has remained undelivered.

Last week, Al-Sadr took many inside and outside Iraq by surprise when he denied charges that Tehran had influenced his decision to order his supporters to quit the parliament. The unsolicited remarks were seen as an attempt to exonerate Iran of interfering in Iraq’s politics.

Whatever lies behind Al-Sadr’s moves, the Shia cleric has landed in an unenviable position and now faces some hard choices in dealing with the aftermath of his retreat from Iraq’s political process.

He must now weigh the pros and cons of his next steps as Iraq faces the prospect of further uncertainty.

One option is to leave his rivals in the “Coordination Framework” to form a new government and then probably wait for them to fail. This scenario is far-fetched, but even if they can forge a ruling alliance, it is doubtful that Al-Sadr will give his opponents the chance to consolidate their power and instead will exert maximal pressure to bring them down.

An alternative would be to support proposals for new elections to end the stalemate and engineer a way back into power. However, there is no guarantee that this time Al-Sadr would secure another comfortable parliamentary majority amid speculation that his popularity has waned following his mishandling of the crisis.

A third option would be to mobilise his followers into carrying out street protests that would exploit the rage over embedded government dysfunction and unbridled corruption. Discontent is building across the country as Iraqis suffer from a summer of drought, sandstorms, electricity cuts, amid worsening public services.

These have been made worse by food price rises, a surge in Covid-19 cases, and outbreaks of deadly nose-bleed fever and cholera.

Here is where Al-Sadr’s mystery ends and his tactless power game begins. Al-Sadr should realise that this is a high-stakes game that could keep him as a spoiler who has the capacity to destabilise the political order but not the ability to acquire the national power he aspires to.

Given Iraq’s high level of political fragility and conflict, all these options are likely to fail to break the deadlock. They are more likely to increase the political instability and social unrest, or even lead to a new outbreak of violent conflict, if the dysfunctions in the country’s political system remain unaddressed.

Antichrist criticizes Iraqi President Salih for befriending Israel

The Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr delivering a speech in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, June 3, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
The Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr delivering a speech in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, June 3, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Sadr criticizes Iraqi President Salih for not signing anti-normalization law

“It is shameful for the people that their president is a supporter of normalization and is not patriotic but rather subservient to the West or the East.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – Sadrist Movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr strongly criticized Iraqi President Barham Salih on Tuesday for not signing the new anti-normalization law passed by the country’s parliament.

“It is very shameful that the so-called President of the Republic of Iraq refused to sign the law,” Sadr tweeted on Tuesday. “It is shameful for the people that their president is a supporter of normalization and is not patriotic but rather subservient to the West or the East.”

“I am innocent of this crime before God and the Iraqi people,” he added. “I regret his candidacy for the presidency before and after.”

In late May, Iraqi lawmakers passed a bill that criminalizes any normalization of ties with Israel. 

Following two readings of the bill by the members of parliament, the proposed law was unanimously approved by 275 lawmakers out of the parliament’s 329 members.

The law mandates the punishment of any person or entity seeking to normalize or establish ties with Israel, according to a copy of the legislation seen by Kurdistan 24. 

In a tweet he shared following parliament’s vote on the law, Sadr, who pushed for the legislation, called on Iraqis to publicly celebrate the bill’s passing.

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the fall of 2020, Sadr has repeatedly warned against establishing ties with Israel.

Antichrist calls out Iraqi president for not signing bill criminalizing Israel ties

Iraqi President Barham Salih (left) on March 29, 2019. Photo: AP; Muqtada al-Sadr (right). Photo: AFP; Graphic: Rudaw

Sadr calls out Iraqi president for not signing bill criminalizing Israel ties

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Tuesday harshly criticized Iraqi President Barham Salih for withholding from signing the legislation criminalizing ties with Israel in a move that is seen as a blow to Salih’s second-term candidacy.

In a harsh tone, Sadr in a tweet said it is “very, very shameful that the so-called President of the Republic of Iraq (Barham) … refuses to sign the law” criminalizing relations with Israel.

Sadr added that it would be “shameful” for Iraqis to have a president who supports normalizing ties with Israel and is “unpatriotic and affiliated with the west or east.”

A spokesperson for Salih said in a statement later in the day that the President had approved the law as it was sent by the parliament “without having any notes” and ordered its publication on the Official Gazette.

The statement added that Salih has “always” supported the Palestinian cause.

The Iraqi parliament on May 26 passed a bill criminalizing ties with Israel, marking the act as a crime punishable by death. The bill requires almost all officials, including those in Kurdistan Region, government institutions, and media to refrain from establishing relations with Israel.

Sadr at the time called on the Iraqi people to take to the streets in celebration of what he called a “great achievement.”

The law must be signed by the president, according to the Iraqi constitution. However, if he fails to do so then it would nonetheless take effect within 15 days.

The passage of the bill put Salih in a puzzle that came amid severe political tensions that have engulfed Iraq. The current president is running for a second term for the post.

“I absolve myself of his crime in front of God and the Iraqi people,” Sadr added saying he “regrets” Salih’s previous and subsequent candidacy for the presidency post.

The normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords is a US-led joint Middle East peace initiative. Four countries – the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain, and Morocco – have announced normalization agreements with Israel, with America’s support.

A conference in September advocating for Iraq to join the agreement was met with widespread condemnation and criticism from the public and officials.

Updated at 5:45pm

The world is preparing for the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16

The world is spending more and more on nuclear weapons

Helen Hernandez2 weeks ago

(Washington) Spending by nuclear powers to modernize their atomic arsenals rose nearly 9% in 2021 to $82.4 billion, according to a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). 

Posted at 7:45 a.m.

The United States alone spent $44.2 billion on its nuclear program last year, 12.7% more than the previous year, and China spent $11.7 billion (+10 .4%), according to this report published on Tuesday. 

The budgets devoted by Russia (8.6 billion), France (5.9 billion) and the United Kingdom (6.8 billion) to nuclear weapons have increased slightly, adds the ICAN, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for having worked tirelessly for the treaty banning nuclear weapons, which was ratified by 59 countries but none of the nuclear powers.

Pakistan spent 1.1 billion dollars on its nuclear armament, against 1 billion the previous year, while India reduced its expenditure in this sector to 2.3 billion (against 2.5 in 2020), according to The report. 

Israel, which has never officially acknowledged having the nuclear bomb, has allocated 1.2 billion to it, as the previous year, according to the ICAN which estimates the budget that North Korea has allocated in 2021 at 642 million dollars. to its nuclear program compared to 700 million in 2020. 

Taxpayer money allowed new contracts to be awarded to private companies (30.2 billion in total) to modernize the nuclear arsenals of the great powers, and these private companies in turn bought the services of centers of reflection and pressure groups to defend the usefulness of nuclear weapons, adds the NGO, which denounces a pronuclear vicious circle. 

“This report shows that nuclear weapons are useless,” commented Alicia Sanders-Zakre, research coordinator at ICAN. “Nuclear-armed countries spent $6.5 billion more in 2021 and they weren’t able to stop a nuclear power from starting a war in Europe,” she said. reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“This is why we need multilateral nuclear disarmament more than ever,” she added. 

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Russia Horn’s latest nuclear threats ‘irresponsible’

Pentagon: Russia’s latest nuclear threats ‘irresponsible’

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s weekend pledge to transfer nuclear-capable missile systems to Belarus is being viewed by U.S. officials as “cavalier” and “irresponsible” language, a senior U.S. defense official said Monday. 

“Certainly, any time anybody uses the word nuclear you have concerns. Quite honestly it seems pretty irresponsible of a national leader to talk about the employment of nuclear weapons and to do so in a generally cavalier fashion,” the defense official told reporters in an on-background briefing.  

Putin on Saturday told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that the Kremlin will transfer Russian-made Iskander-M missile systems to Belarus “in the next few months.” 

The mobile, short-range ballistic missile systems with a range of up to 310 miles “can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions,” the Russian leader told Lukashenko at a meeting in St. Petersburg, according to a readout from Moscow.

The U.S. defense official said Washington takes such threatening language seriously and has “from the very beginning” of Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24.  

“The way that statement read from Putin was, ‘Hey we’re going to give them Iskanders, and oh, by the way, they can hold nuclear weapons.’ And everybody takes that very seriously when you use that language,” the official said.  

“Our strategic forces are always monitoring things in that regard,” they added. 

Putin has frequently made veiled nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West in its more than four-month war against its neighbor.   

At the very start of the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin ordered his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear weapons, be put on higher alert, citing so-called threats from the West. 

He has also flouted Moscow’s nuclear might, warning that other countries which seem to interfere with Russian actions will face “consequences you have never seen.”

Russia Threatens the European Horns

Putin Lukashenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in St Petersburg on Saturday [Maxim Blinov/Kremlin via Reuters]

Russia to send Belarus nuclear-capable missiles within months

Putin has several times referred to nuclear weapons since his country invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the West has seen as a warning not to intervene.

Russia will supply Belarus with missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads after the president complained about nuclear-armed NATO flights coming close to the Belarusian border.

President Vladimir Putin made the announcement on Saturday as he received Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow.

“In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions,” Putin said in a broadcast on Russian television at the start of his meeting with Lukashenko in St Petersburg.

At the meeting, Lukashenko expressed concern about the “aggressive”, “confrontational”, and “repulsive” policies of Belarus’s neighbours Lithuania and Poland.

He asked Putin to help his country mount a “symmetrical response” to what he said were nuclear-armed flights by the US-led NATO alliance near Belarus’s borders.

Putin offered to upgrade Belarusian warplanes to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons amid soaring tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Last month, Lukashenko said his country had bought Iskander nuclear-capable missiles and S-400 anti-aircraft anti-missile systems from Russia.

“Many Su-25 [aircraft] are in service with the Belarusian military. They could be upgraded in an appropriate way,” Putin said.

“This modernisation should be carried out in aircraft factories in Russia and the training of personnel should start in accordance with this. We will agree on how to accomplish this.”