East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal in 2015 (Rev 6:12)

Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT
The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.
In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.
At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.
A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.
Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.
The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.
Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.
“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.
“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.
“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.
Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.
At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.
“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”
Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.
The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.
The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.
The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.
In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.
At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”
Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.
Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.
“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”
The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.
Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.
A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.
“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”
The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.
Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.
The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.
People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.
In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.
Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.
“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.
“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”
Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

Antichrist’s Men Trained By The First Horn (Daniel 8:3)

Hezbollah fighters train Iraqi Shiite militants near Mosul
Hezbollah A video surfaced this week which purports to show Lebanese Hezbollah fighters present on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Mosul. The footage, published by Pan-Arab news site Al-Araby Al-Jaeed, was reportedly filmed in al-Zarka, approximately 30 miles southwest of Mosul, where thousands of Shiite militia fighters have assembled. Though the fighters, seen in the video training Iraqi Shiite militiamen to fire mortar shells, are not wearing their militia’s insignia, their distinct southern Lebanese accents betray their membership in the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy group.
According to the video’s accompanying report, an unnamed Iraqi Shiite militant said that the Hezbollah fighters arrived in the area days earlier to reinforce local Shiite fighters.
“[Hezbollah chief] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah sent them to support us, for Syria and Iraq are all on one side,” he said.
Hezbollah’s intervention in Iraq is not new, its fighters and advisors have been on the ground since the outset of the Iranian-led fight against the Islamic State. Hezbollah has been sending highly trained military experts to help in managing the battles against the extremist Sunni organization. Their presence was made known in late 2014, when Hezbollah commander Ibrahim al Hajj was killed fighting against the Islamic State in northern Iraq’s Tel Afar. Nasrallah himself finally acknowledged sending Hezbollah’s fighters to Iraq in a 2015 speech, describing the organization’s presence at the time as small and “in its earliest stages.” He also issued an invitation for volunteers to join them there to fight ISIS.
Since then, Hezbollah appears to have stepped up its involvement in Iraq. In late April, Hussein Yazadan, a Kurdish military official, alleged that the Shiite organization had deployed 1,000 fighters to the city of Kirkukon – approximately 100 miles southeast of Mosul – on Iranian orders and were concentrating in the nearby town of Taza Khurmatu. Led by an Islamic Revolution Guard Corps–Quds Force (IRGC-QF) commander, the Hezbollah guerillas arrived in the area to provide support for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) fighters as part of Iran’s attempt to solidify its control over both oil-rich cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, and establish a land-bridge to the Syrian border. Yazadan said that the Hezbollah fighters were wearing PMF uniforms in an effort to conceal their identity. At the time, Hezbollah denied having sent such a large contingent of fighters to Iraq, instead claiming it had sent the PMF dozens of military experts and trainers months prior to Yazadan’s warning.
Hezbollah’s Iraqi presence actually predates the rise of ISIS by a decade, going back to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Hezbollah developed its own insurgent capability in Iraq, engaging in assassinations, kidnappings and bombings. At Iran’s behest, Hezbollah also created Unit 3800, an external operations unit to train and assist Iraqi Shiite militias – known as the “Special Groups” – fighting against US and multinational forces. In fact, the group is even rumored to have sent its late legendary military commander Imad Mughniyeh to Iraq in early 2006 to help train members of the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia led by Muqtada al-Sadr.
However, the key figure in this effort by Hezbollah was Ali Musa Daqdouq.
Daqdouq joined the Shiite organization in its early days in 1983 and quickly rose to commend its Special Operations Unit 2800, Unit 3800’s predecessor. In May 2006, Daqdouq was sent to Iran to coordinate the Special Groups’ training program with the IRGC-QF, and make periodic visits to Iraq. Daqdouq trained Iraqi militants in carrying out terrorist operations, including the IED attacks, especially using Explosively Formed Penetrators, which Hezbollah excelled at using against Israel during the IDF’s 15-year occupation of south Lebanon. He also trained them to use mortars, rockets and sniper rifles, as well as carrying out intelligence and kidnapping operations.
US forces finally captured Daqdouq in March 2007, along with the leader of the Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq Shiite militia, which carried out the Jan. 2007 attack on the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center. Five US soldiers were captured during the attack and later executed.
Currently, Hezbollah’s activities in Iraq are being led by Muhammad Kawarithmi, who works on behalf of the group’s leadership to promote its interests in Iraq. Through Kawarithmi, the organization continues to provide training, funding, political and logistical support to Iraqi Shiite militant groups.
David Daoud is an Arabic-Language Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
ISLAMABAD: Renowned educationist, student counselor, teaching and learning innovator and classrooms entrepreneur of PakistanChaudhry Faisal Mushtaq has been included in the list of the 500 most influential Muslim personalities for the third consecutive year.
Acknowledging his immense popularity and growing influence among Pakistani youth, the world’s leading research organization Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordon has included him in its list for the third year.
Chief Executive Roots Millennium Schools Faisal Mushtaq’s name has been included in the list in view of his growing popularity among classrooms and communities, the citation reads. “Mr Mushtaq has excelled at providing a quality education for millions of people, an initiative that has occupied sixteen years of his life. He encourages academic excellence, student achievement, social entrepreneurship, and opportunity for all. He currently works in the capacity of Chief Executive of Roots Millennium Schools in Pakistan and a member of many of the government’s committees on education. He has helped students from various backgrounds fulfill their dreams of getting into top universities worldwide. An attendee of the World Economic Forum, he is one of Pakistan’s youngest Presidential national award winners of the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz and was voted as the best young entrepreneur of 2011 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” it adds.
The other personalities from Muslim world include Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz, Sheikh Abdul Rehman al Sudais, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Nayef, Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Dr Shirin Ebadi, Muqtada al-Sadr, Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, Sultan Qaboos, Mahmoud Abbas, Ashraf Ghani, Sirajuddin Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Sheikh Hasina Wajid, Hassan Nasrallah, Khaled Mashal, Dr Muhmmad Yunus, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, Sayeeda Warsi and Sami Yusuf. This recognition comes from the King of Jordan’s council which recognizes the most influential Muslims of the World. Recently Faisal Mushtaq has also been awarded as the “Best Educationist of the Year” by the President of Pakistan and “Best Young Entrepreneur” for the year 2011 by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

US Leaders Reject Nuclear Winter (Revelation 15)

Turn a Blind Eye towards Armageddon
Steven Starr
Ten years ago, the world’s leading climatologists chose to reinvestigate the long-term environmental impacts of nuclear war. The peer-reviewed studies they produced are considered to be the most authoritative type of scientific research, which is subjected to criticism by the international scientific community before its final publication in scholarly journals. No serious errors were found in their studies.
Working at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers, and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, these scientists used state-of-the-art computer modeling to evaluate the consequences of a range of possible nuclear conflicts. They began with a hypothetical war in Southeast Asia, in which a total of 100 Hiroshima-size atomic bombs were exploded in the cities of India Pakistan. In order to give you a clear idea of what an atomic bomb can do, please consider these images of Hiroshima, before and after the bomb, which had an explosive power of 15,000 tons of TNT.
The detonation of such an atomic bomb will instantly ignite fires over a surface area of 3 to 5 square miles. The scientists calculated that the blast, fire, and radiation from a war fought with 100 atomic bombs could produce as many fatalities as World War II. However, the long-term environmental effects of the war could significantly disrupt the global weather for at least a decade, which would likely result in a vast global famine.
The scientists predicted that nuclear firestorms in the burning cities would cause 3 to 4 million tons of black carbon smoke to quickly rise above cloud level into the stratosphere, where it could not be rained out. The smoke would circle the Earth in less than 2 weeks and would form a global stratospheric smoke layer that would remain for more than a decade. The smoke would absorb warming sunlight, which would heat the smoke to temperatures near the boiling point of water, producing ozone losses of 20% to 50% over populated areas. This would almost double the amount of UV-B reaching the some regions, and it would create UV-B indices unprecedented in human history. In North America and central Europe, the time required to get a painful sunburn at mid-day in June could decrease to as little as six minutes for fair-skinned individuals.
As the smoke layer blocked warming sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface, it would produce the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years Medical experts have predicted that the shortening of growing seasons and corresponding decreases in agricultural production could cause up to 2 billion people to perish from famine.
The climatologists also investigated the effects of a nuclear war fought with the vastly more powerful modern thermonuclear weapons possessed by the US, Russia, China, France, and England. Some of the thermonuclear weapons constructed during 1950s and 1960s were 1000 times more powerful than an atomic bomb.
During the last 30 years, the average size of thermonuclear or “strategic” nuclear weapons has decreased. Yet today, each of the approximately 3540 strategic weapons deployed by the US and Russia is 7 to 80 times more powerful than the atomic bombs modeled in the India-Pakistan study. The smallest strategic nuclear weapon has an explosive power of 100,000 tons of TNT, compared to an atomic bomb with an average explosive power of 15,000 tons of TNT.
Strategic nuclear weapons produce much larger nuclear firestorms than do atomic bombs. For example, a standard Russian 800 kiloton warhead, on an average day, will ignite fires covering a surface area of 90 to 152 square miles].
A war fought with hundreds or thousands of US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons would ignite immense nuclear firestorms covering land surface areas of many thousands or tens of thousands of square miles. The scientists calculated that these fires would produce up to 180 million tons of black carbon soot and smoke, which would form a dense, global stratospheric smoke layer. The smoke would remain in the stratosphere for ten to twenty years, and it would block as much as 70% of sunlight from reaching the surface of the Northern Hemisphere and 35% from the Southern Hemisphere. So much sunlight would be blocked by the smoke that the noonday sun would resemble a full moon at midnight.
Under such conditions, it would only require a matter of days or weeks for daily minimum temperatures to fall below freezing in the largest agricultural areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Freezing temperatures would occur every day for a period of between one to three years. Average surface temperatures would become colder than those experienced 18,000 years ago at the height of the last Ice Age, and the prolonged cold would cause average rainfall to decrease by up to 90%. Growing seasons would be completely eliminated for more than a decade; it would be too cold and dark to grow food crops, which would doom the majority of the human population.
A brief history of nuclear winter
The profound cold and the dark following nuclear war became known as nuclear winter and it was first predicted in 1983 by a group of NASA scientists. During the mid-1980s, a large body of research was done by such groups as the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), the World Meteorological Organization, and the U.S. National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; their work essentially supported the initial findings of the 1983 studies.
The idea of nuclear winter, published and supported by prominent scientists, generated extensive public alarm and put political pressure on the US and the Soviet Union to reverse a runaway nuclear arms race which, by 1986, had created a global nuclear arsenal of more than 65,000 nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, this created a backlash among many powerful military and industrial interests, who undertook an extensive media campaign to brand nuclear winter as “bad science” and the scientists who discovered it as “irresponsible.”
Critics used various uncertainties in the studies and the first climate models (which are primitive by today’s standards) as a basis to criticize and reject the concept of nuclear winter. In 1986, the Council on Foreign Relations published an article by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who predicted drops in global cooling about half as large as those first predicted by the 1983 studies and described this as a ‘nuclear autumn.’ The nuclear autumn studies were later shown to be deeply flawed, but it didn’t matter.
Nuclear winter was subject to criticism and damning articles in the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. In 1987, the National Review called nuclear winter a “fraud.” In 2000, Discover Magazine published an article which described nuclear winter as one of “The Twenty Greatest Scientific Blunders in History.” The endless smear campaign was successful; the general public, and even most anti-nuclear activists, were left with the idea that nuclear winter had been discredited.
The rejection of nuclear winter by today’s US military and political leaders
Yet the scientists did not give up. In 2006, they returned to their labs to perform the research I have previously described. Their new research not only upheld the previous findings, it found that the earlier studies actually underestimated the environmental effects of nuclear war.
After the initial series of studies were published in 2007 and 2008, the scientist from Rutgers, Dr. Robock, and Dr. Toon of the University of Colorado, made a series of requests to meet with members of the Obama administration. The scientists offered to brief the White House about their findings, which they assumed would have a great impact upon nuclear weapons policy. Their offers were met with indifference.
Finally, after a number of years of trying, I have been told that Drs. Robock and Toon were allowed an audience with John Holdren, the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama on Science and Technology. Dr. Robock also has met with Rose Gottemoeller, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Dr. Robock has the impression that neither Holdren nor Gottemoeller think the nuclear winter research is correct.
But it is not only Holdren and Gottemoeller who reject the nuclear winter research. According to sources cited by Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, the US Nuclear Weapons Council – the group that determines the size and composition of US nuclear weapons, as well as the policies for their use – has stated that “the predictions of nuclear winter were disproved years ago.”
The members of the US Nuclear Weapons Council include:
The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Under Secretary for Nuclear Security of the Department of Energy
The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
The Commander of the United States Strategic Command
It may be that General John Hyten, the Head of the Strategic Command, who is in charge of the US nuclear triad, and General Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second highest ranking officer in the US, have never seen or heard of the 21st century nuclear winter studies. Perhaps when they hear a question about “nuclear winter”, they only remember the smear campaigns done against the early studies. Or maybe they just choose not to accept the new scientific research on nuclear winter, despite the fact that it has withstood the criticism of the global scientific community.
Regardless, the rejection of nuclear winter research by the top military and political leaders of the United States raises some profoundly important questions: Do they fully understand the consequences of nuclear war? Do they realize that the launch-ready nuclear weapons they control constitute a self-destruct mechanism for the human race?
Renewed Cold War and the possibility of war with Russia and China
Meanwhile, US political leaders generally support the ongoing US confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China. Mainstream corporate media, including the editorial boards of the New York Times and Washington Post, engage in anti-Russian, anti-Putin rhetoric that surpasses the hate speech of the McCarthy era. The US has renewed the Cold War with Russia, with no debate or protest, and has subsequently engaged in proxy wars with Russia in Ukraine and Syria, as well as threatening military action against China in the South China Sea.
Hillary Clinton, who appears likely to become the next president of the United States, has repeatedly called for a US-imposed “no-fly zone” over Syria, where Russian planes are now flying in support of the Syrian Armed Forces. Marine General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in September that should the US attempt to set up such a no-fly zone, it surely result in war with Russia.
Apparently there is now some debate about this, however, Russia has responded by moving its latest air defense systems to Syria, and it stated it would shoot down any US or NATO planes that attempted to attack the Syrian Armed Forces.
Russia has also sent its only aircraft carrier, along with all of its Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet to the Mediterranean, in its largest surface deployment of naval vessels since the end of the Cold War. In response to what NATO leaders describe as Russia’s “dangerous and aggressive actions”, NATO has built up a “rapid-response force” of 40,000 troops on the Russian border, in the Baltic States and Poland. This force includes hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, and heavy artillery. NATO troops stationed in Estonia are within artillery range of St. Petersburg, the second largest city of Russia.
The US has deployed its Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system in Romania and is constructing another such BMD system in Poland. The Mark 41 launch system used in the Aegis Ashore systems can be used to launch a variety of missiles, including long-range nuclear-armed cruise missiles.
In other words, the US has built and is building launch sites for nuclear missiles on the Russian border. This fact has been widely reported on Russian TV and has infuriated the Russian public. In June, Russian President Putin specifically warned that Russia would be forced to retaliate against this threat.
While Russian officials maintain that its actions are normal and routine, Russia now appears to be preparing for war. On October 5, Russia conducted a nation-wide civil defense drill that included 40 million of its people being directed to fallout shelters. Reuters reported that on October 7, Russia had moved its Iskander nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, which borders Poland.
While the US ignores the danger of nuclear war, Russian scholar Stephen Cohen reports that the danger of war with the US is the leading news story in Russia. Cohen states:
Just as there is no discussion of the most existential question of our time, in the American political class – the possibility of war with Russia – it is the only thing being discussed in the Russian political class . . . These are two different political universes. In Russia, all the discussion in the newspapers, and there is plenty of free discussion on talk show TV, which echoes what the Kremlin is thinking, online, in the elite newspapers, and in the popular broadcasts, the number 1, 2, 3, and 4 topics of the day are the possibility of war with the United States.
Cohen goes on to say:
I conclude from this that the leadership of Russia actually believes now, in reaction to what the United States and NATO have said and done over the last two years, and particularly in reaction to the breakdown of the proposed cooperation in Syria, and the rhetoric coming out of Washington, that war is a real possibility. I can’t remember when, since the Cuban Missile Crisis, that the Moscow leadership came to this conclusion in its collective head.
My own personal assessment of the state of the nuclear danger today is that it is profound. The United States is sleepwalking towards nuclear war. Our leaders have turned a blind eye to the scientifically predicted consequences of nuclear war, and appear to be intent in making “Russia back down”. This is a recipe for unlimited human disaster.
It is still not too late to seek dialogue, diplomacy, and détente with Russia and China, and to create a global dialogue about the existential dangers of nuclear war. We must return to the understanding that nuclear war cannot be won, and must not be fought. This can be achieved if we listen to the warnings from the scientific community about the omnicidal consequences of nuclear war.

Countering Pakistan’s Terrorism Before The Nuclear War

by Jon P Dorschner
Expert observers have written reams of material concerning the never-ending confrontation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. The issue leaves the radar screen during quiet periods, only to return when an incident touches-off another cycle of violence. The two countries are currently in the midst of another confrontation that again threatens to escalate into open military conflict.
This latest round started on September 18, when four terrorists from Jaish e Mohammed – JeM (an Islamist group based in Pakistan), attacked an Indian Army base in Uri, just 10 kilometers from the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir. The terrorists killed 18 Indian soldiers before being killed in a protracted firefight. The Indian government states it has conclusive proof that the terrorists infiltrated into India from Pakistan with assistance provided by the Pakistan Army.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads the Hindu-Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government currently in power in New Delhi. The BJP has long pledged to take a strong stance against Pakistan supported terrorist attacks. Just hours after the Uri attack, Modi stated that “I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished.”1 Although Modi promised quick action, there was no Indian military response for 11 days. On September 24, the Prime Minister “made a speech that many interpreted as a call for strategic restraint.”2
The situation changed dramatically September 29, when Lt. General Ranbir Singh, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), announced that Indian troops had carried out “surgical strikes” on a number of “terrorist launch pads” across the line of control. General Singh provided few specifics, but later press reports citing anonymous sources, confirmed the attacks were carried out by Indian Special Forces on 5-6 targets, located from 2 to 3 kilometers inside Pakistani territory. The Indian forces reached their destination on foot and in helicopters. The sources claimed that up to 30 militants and two Pakistani soldiers were killed in the five-hour long night time operation and that there were no Indian casualties.3
Pakistan denied there was any such operation, claiming only that two of its troops were killed in “unprovoked shelling.” Both countries are now preparing for further escalation. India has reinforced its paramilitary forces along the India/Pakistan border and ordered villages within 10 kilometers of the India/Pakistan border evacuated.
Indian public opinion has been almost universally supportive of India’s military response. Although India is deeply divided politically, all parties are expressing support. This latest confrontation has revealed a deep level of frustration among the Indian populace. After suffering decades of terrorist attacks originating in Pakistan, there is strong public support for military measures to convince Pakistan to abjure its support for terrorism.
This is not the first time the two countries have been locked into a confrontation that threatened to escalate into a military conflict. India responded to a December 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament by activating its armed forces and threatened to launch a retaliatory attack against Pakistan.
At that time I published an article outlining possible military responses to the attack.4 I examined four options:
Air strikes against camps known to be harboring and training terrorist fighters in Pakistan Kashmir.
Ground and/or heliborne attacks across the Line of Control (LoC) against those camps closest to the LoC. A covert campaign of bombings and/or assassinations against the principal Pakistan-based terrorist groups.
An extended air campaign against terrorist targets in the Pakistani state of Punjab, most notably the headquarters of Lashkar-e-Toiba in the city of Muridke.5
I determined that having examined “the options available to the Indian military,…none of them are very attractive and they are unlikely to cause serious damage to the terrorist infrastructure located in Pakistan controlled Kashmir, or in Pakistan proper.”6
It now appears that in response to yet another terrorist attack, the Indian military opted for option two on my 2001 list. However, India has obviously chosen to conduct only a limited military strike with limited objectives.
India hopes this operation will pacify Indian anger, demonstrate resolve, and unite the population behind the government. New Delhi also hopes to send a clear message to Pakistan that it is no longer business as usual and that Pakistan can no longer mount terrorist attacks against India with impunity. India also wants to make it clear that should Pakistan chose to mount a military and/or terrorist response to the latest Indian military action and conduct an attack on India, the Indian armed forces will respond in kind.
General Singh, in his September 29 statement, reiterated that India preferred a peaceful situation in Kashmir and between India and Pakistan, and “sought the support of the Pakistan Army in erasing the menace of terrorism.”7 General Singh has contacted his Pakistani counterpart in hopes that the two militaries can open a channel to negotiate a reduction of hostilities.
As indicated in my 2001 article, Indian military planners have devised a number of military responses to Pakistani supported terrorism. These have been calibrated to enable India to tailor its operations to the evolving situation. Should Pakistan ratchet up hostilities with its own operation, India will then up the ante by increasing the intensity of its response. At each stage, India will hold out the prospect of negotiations to ratchet down hostilities and avoid military escalation.
The object is to obtain an agreement from Pakistan to end its support of terrorist attacks directed against India. This latest series of events is significant, in that India has conducted military operations across the LoC. India has never done this in the past, no matter how provocative the terrorist attack. Once this option has been used, it opens up the prospect for further attacks against terrorist infrastructure within Pakistan controlled territory.
It appears that India did not use airpower in its most recent “surgical strikes.” Pakistan is well-aware that this is a potential Indian option. Press reports indicate that Pakistan has taken over civilian airfields in Pakistan controlled Kashmir, and is preparing to move Air Force assets into these new bases, to resist potential Indian airstrikes. Should the military conflict escalate, India is likely to seriously examine this option, as well as the possibility of a combined air and land operation aimed at causing serious damage to terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan controlled Kashmir.
India’s September 29 military operation was conducted solely against militants forming up to be infiltrated into Indian controlled Kashmir to conduct further terrorist attacks. The object of the operation was to break up the planned attacks and inflict as many militant casualties as possible. Indian forces met both of these objectives.
Future Indian military operations could have wider objectives, such as to destroy militant training and logistics facilities, grab documents and hard drives and mine them for intelligence, capture militants to take back to India for debriefing, and killing or capturing the leadership of terrorist organizations. These escalated attacks would be aimed at inflicting severe damage on terrorist infrastructure to send a clear message to Pakistan that it is facing ever-expanding consequences for its actions.
Since 2001, the number of military options available to India has expanded. For example, there have been rapid increases in missile technology. India now has the capability to use missiles based in India and/or drone strikes to attack specific targets within Pakistan and Pakistani controlled Kashmir. This adds a new dimension, in that India can inflict severe damage without risking pilots or soldiers.
In addition to the four options laid out in my 2001 paper, India has hinted strongly that it is examining the possibility of providing covert and overt support to the independence movement of Baluchistan. Baluchi separatists have been engaged in a protracted uprising with the goal of separating from Pakistan and establishing a new state in South Asia that would enjoy friendly relations with India.
The Pakistan Army has been deeply mired in protracted counter-insurgency operations to crush this uprising and end Baluchi separatist aspirations. Prime Minister Modi hinted at this option when he chose to express support for the people of Baluchistan in his Independence Day address, which was warmly welcomed by the leadership of the Baluchistan independence movement.8
The Pakistani armed forces and the people of Pakistan consider the separation of the Pakistani province of East Pakistan from Pakistan in 1971 and the subsequent creation of an independent state of Bangladesh, with the support of the Indian armed forces, the absolute low point for Pakistani fortunes. After that defeat, the Pakistani military determined that it would never again allow one of its provinces to be detached.
Such an outcome could undermine the very survival of Pakistan as a state. The original Pakistan, created in 1947 with two wings (West and East Pakistan) separated by over 1,300 kilometers of Indian territory, did not prove to be viable and was perhaps stillborn from the very beginning. West Pakistan was able to absorb the loss of its Eastern wing and continue to survive as a viable state. However, should the truncated Pakistan that emerged from the 1971 war be further subdivided, it could result in the total break-up of Pakistan and its replacement by a group of mini-states with widely divergent agendas.
This underlies Pakistan’s relentless suppression of the Baluchistan independence movement with its accompanying string of grievous human rights violations. When Pakistan tried the same tactics against the rebellious Bengalis, it only roused the Bengali population to further resistance and provided India with a target of opportunity. Some in India are arguing that history is repeating itself and that a similar target of opportunity could be emerging. Should the current conflict persist and escalate, the Baluchistan option will loom large in Indian thinking, and would be viewed by Pakistan as an existential threat.
In my estimation, India has a broader range of military options than Pakistan. This is because the Pakistani military is already overstretched. Pakistani forces are combatting a vicious Islamic Jihadi insurgency carried out by a number of disparate groups operating under the umbrella of the Pakistani Taliban (The Tehrik-i-Taliban, Pakistan – TTP) from bases in Afghanistan. In addition, Pakistani troops are tied down combatting the persistent separatist insurgency in Baluchistan. In addition, the Pakistani Army continues to view India as the principal threat and sees the need to keep sufficient numbers of troops along the Indo/Pakistan border to meet any possible Indian aggression.
Pakistan must also contend with advances in military technology, which act as force multipliers for India. Unlike Pakistan, India enjoys friendly relations with fellow democracies around the world, and has entered into quasi alliances with principal arms suppliers. This is increasingly giving India access to advanced military technology not always available to Pakistan (which increasingly must rely on China for its military hardware). These factors help ensure that India has a wider array of military options.
India is again involved in a confrontation with Pakistan over Kashmir. It has already crossed the Rubicon and opted for the military option, carrying out a military strike, this time within territory across the LoC. Whether the Indian “surgical strikes” will prove to be last military exchange between the two countries in the current round depends on decisions made in both New Delhi and Islamabad.
It is common when writing about the Indo/Pakistan rivalry to emphasize that both states are “nuclear armed,” and that every military conflict between them has the potential to escalate into a nuclear exchange. While this is true, it may be over-emphasized. Pakistan, with its relative decline in conventional military capabilities vis a vis India, likes to play upon these fears. Pakistan is investing much of its national treasure to construct its rapidly-growing nuclear arsenal, seemingly confident that this will preclude any military retaliation from India. This confidence in nuclear weaponry is too simplistic and over-stated.
We have seen that there are a wide range of military options available to India (both covert and overt). The resort to nuclear weapons by any state, can only be seen as a desperate measure taken as a last resort. This is particularly true in the South Asian context where a nuclear exchange would be catastrophic for all states in the region, including Pakistan.
A knee-jerk resort to nuclear weapons is not a viable response in all circumstances. Indian attacks on terrorist infrastructure based in Pakistan and in Pakistan-controlled territory do not pose a threat to Pakistan’s survival. It cannot therefore constantly threaten to resort to the nuclear option. If Pakistan intends to provide a military response to India in a tit for tat exchange, it must devise measures that fall far short of threatening the use of nuclear weapons.
India has already made its decision. Pakistan must now determine how it will respond. The nature of the Pakistani response will determine whether the current conflict will escalate or not and which option India will choose when crafting its counter-move.bluestar