The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

by , 03/22/11
filed under: Newsnyc earthquake, new york city earthquake risk, nyc earthquake threat, earthquake
New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.
Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.
There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation rates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.
John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.
The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.
Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”
Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”
Via Metro and NY Daily News
Images © Ed Yourdon

The Antichrist Unifies Iraq

The fight for Mosul is far from finished, but Iraqi politicians are already well into planning what will come next for their country. Though organizational and funding challenges could push Iraq’s scheduled 2017 parliamentary elections off into the next year, the country’s political parties have begun to assemble their blocs. The incipient coalition-building efforts have been unusually peaceable, unwittingly keeping with the loose framework that Ammar al-Hakim, head of Iraq’s comprehensive Shiite coalition, the National Alliance bloc, laid out in October. Known as the “historic settlement,” the plan provides a loose framework to reconcile Iraq’s various religious sects and political factions once the country is rid of the Islamic State, emphasizing compromise and renouncing violence. However optimistic the historic settlement may seem, Iraq’s competing parties are apparently heeding it, and they have so far limited themselves to verbal battles rather than enlisting the help of militias. Still, recent conflicts among Shiite and Kurdish political parties hint at the rivalries that will come to light as election season approaches.
Iraq has much at stake in the next round of legislative elections, regardless of when it takes place. For one thing, the Iraqi people, weary after years of violence and upheaval, have pinned their hopes on the next vote to help usher in a new era for the country. For another, the elections will be a measure of Iraq’s progress in restoring order after the bitter battle against the Islamic State. Legislative elections have long functioned as an indicator of the country’s stability. Under Saddam Hussein’s rule, Shiites and minority communities, including Kurds, were sidelined from the electoral process, which was neither free nor fair. After Saddam’s administration fell in 2003, turnout among the Sunni population dropped — to just 2 percent in Anbar province during the 2005 vote — as competing militias and al Qaeda attacked Sunni voters in an effort to discredit the elections. Though conditions improved in the 2010 and 2014 elections, neither vote was free of sectarian violence. Facing the momentous task of rebuilding the war-torn country, Iraq’s government knows that the success of the next elections will be essential to prove its stability to the international community. To that end, al-Hakim has taken his pacific plan on a tour of the Middle East to try to convince Iraq’s regional allies of the country’s future prospects and win financial support for the costly reconstruction process ahead.
The Shifting National Alliance
But already, Iraqi parties’ differences are starting to show. Though the National Alliance is still Iraq’s main Shiite coalition, its constituent parties are competing for dominance within the bloc. Vice President Nouri al-Maliki recently discovered that his party, State of Law, is losing ground in areas where it used to command the most power. During a recent tour of Maysan, Basra and Dhi Qar provinces in southern Iraq, the former prime minister and founder of State of Law faced angry protesters, evidence of al-Maliki’s waning influence in the area. In the 2014 elections, by contrast, State of Law handily won in these provinces, securing between 32 and 40 percent of the vote in each location. Al-Maliki’s hostile reception is none too surprising, even in his former electoral strongholds. After all, he is best known today for presiding over Iraq during the Islamic State’s incursion into the country; before that, many Iraqis associated him with corruption and empowering Shiites at the expense of the country’s minority populations.
Nevertheless, he is still a powerful figure in Iraq’s political system, and his influence is far-reaching. Al-Maliki used his clout in the judicial system to regain his position as vice president after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s anti-corruption campaigns swept him from office in 2015. Along with State of Law, which still dominates Iraq’s 328-seat parliament with 92 seats, al-Maliki also heads the Reform Front party, albeit unofficially. Earlier in the year, that party spearheaded efforts to unseat prominent ministers from Iraq’s government.
For other Shiite parties in the bloc — especially those led by Muqtada al-Sadr — State of Law’s loss could be their gain. As al-Maliki’s reputation has suffered in recent years, al-Sadr, whose supporters booed the vice president during his trip to southern Iraq, has steadily amassed influence despite his controversial past. Although the Shiite parties stand to benefit from banding together to pass legislation, they will have a hard time uniting their respective constituent pools given the deep mistrust between them.
Deepening Divides in Iraqi Kurdistan
A similar factional rivalry threatens to limit Kurdish parties’ gains in the upcoming elections. Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is finding itself increasingly at odds with the autonomous region’s other political groups. Its main rival party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, for instance, has taken Baghdad’s side in a dispute over the Kurdistan Regional Government’s oil profit-sharing agreement with Iraq. In addition, a leader from the Gorran party recently criticized the KDP for its treatment of the peshmerga, provoking a backlash from the ruling party. As the rifts between the Kurdish parties widen, Arbil’s internal divisions are becoming more stark than its differences with Baghdad.
In the runup to Iraq’s next round of elections, rivalries will continue to emerge between the country’s political parties, and alliances will keep shifting. But political infighting is a dramatic departure from sectarian violence — and for the Iraqi people, a welcome one. The coalition-building process, along with the preparations for the legislative vote, will help determine whether Iraq will continue reconciling its differences politically or will fall back into its pattern of sectarian conflicts.

Khamenei Should Say No Regime Will Exist in 25 Years

Khamenei: The Zionist regime won’t exist in 25 years

Iran’s Supreme Leader calls for a united “Palestinian struggle” in order to destroy Israel within 25 years.
Contact Editor
Elad Benari, 15/12/16 06:13

Speaking during a meeting with the head of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, Khamenei praised the Palestinians’ motivations and added, “The only way to liberate the holy city of Al-Quds is struggle and resistance, and other solutions are useless and futile.”
Khamenei referred to the young Palestinian Arab population as an important factor for the “Palestinian resistance”.
“The Zionist regime — as we have already said — will cease to exist in the next 25 years if there is a collective and united struggle by the Palestinians and the Muslims against the Zionists,” he said.
Khamenei also reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Palestinian nation and said, “Despite being engaged in certain regional issues, the Islamic Republic has always announced explicitly that Palestine is the number one issue in the Muslim world and has fulfilled its obligations in this regard.”
He went on to describe the United States as “the most arrogant [power] and the Great Satan,” adding that Washington is the main reason behind the current problems in the region.
Iranian officials consistently threaten to destroy Israel. Khamenei himself has referred to Israel as a “cancer” and in the past threatened to “annihilate the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Just last month, a senior Iranian military commander predicted that Palestinian Arabs would “get rid of Israel” in the next 10 years.
As well, this past Sunday, Iran’s defense minister warned that if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s policies lead to a war in the Middle East, it would result in the destruction of Israel.

Indian Nuclear Missile Capable of Hitting China

The Strategic Forces Command has previously conducted three test-launches of India’s first ICBM, the last of which occurred in January 2015. While two of the previous launches, taking place in April 2012 and September 2013 respectively, had the Agni-V tested in “open configuration,” the January 2015 test involved the launch of ICBM from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a mobile transporter erector launcher in so-called “deliverable configuration.”
The upcoming test had to be delayed due to some technical issues. “There were some minor technical snags in Agni-V, which required tweaking of its internal battery and electronic configurations after its last test in January 2015,” an unnamed source told The Times of India. “This will be the final test of the three-stage Agni-V, which will be tested for its full range, before the Strategic Forces Command begins its user trials,” the source added.
The Agni-V, a three-stage solid fueled missile, has an approximate range of 5,500-5,800 kilometers, and can carry a 1,500-kilogram (3,300-pound) nuclear warhead. India has reportedly also been working on multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) for the Agni-V in order to ensure a credible second strike capability. In addition, India is already working on the Agni-V’s successor, the Agni-VI, most likely a four-stage ICBM with MIRV and a maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) capability.
“India has successfully test fired [the] nuclear capable Agni-V missile recently, which has a range of 5,000 kms. But we are capable of developing ICBM that can hit targets beyond the range of 10,000 kilometers,” K. Salwan, the chairman of the Armament Research Board at India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), announced in April 2015, as The Diplomat reported. The DRDO chairman was likely referring to the Agni-VI.
Whereas previous Agni variants, the Agni-I, Agni-II, and Agni-III, were specifically developed to offset Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the Agni-IV and Agni-V, given their longer ranges, are specifically designed to deter China. The Agni-V will be fully road mobile. There have also been reports that the ICBM will be stationed aboard India’s first domestically developed and built ballistic missile nuclear submarine (SSBN) class.
India has a nuclear warfare policy centered on a No First-Use (NFU) doctrine and keeps its nuclear warheads de-mated from the actual missiles. Consequently, parts of India’s nuclear doctrine will need to be revised should future Indian Navy submarines carry nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missiles and conduct deterrence patrols.

How the Antichrist’s men are disrupting national unity

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament is divided over a proposal designed to unite the country.
Iraq’s passage of a law establishing the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) as an official security force threw a wrench into efforts to adopt a national settlement proposal — basically a grand plan to abolish sectarian and ethnic quotas in parliament and “put an end to the monopoly of power by the Shiite parties, as opposed to the marginalization of the Sunni sect.” The proposal says it will involve “all segments of Iraqi society and ethnic and religious communities, including women, youth and civil society organizations.”
The parliament’s Sunni blocs don’t think empowering the PMU, an umbrella organization of dozens of predominately Shiite groups, is a good example for ending that monopoly. Since the PMU was formed in 2014, it has been seen by many as a band of outlaw militias accused of human rights violations against Sunni civilians in the areas where it has been fighting the Islamic State (IS).
When the PMU law passed Nov. 26, the Sunni blocs walked out of the parliamentary session as a show of opposition. Now the Sunni blocs have walked away from the national settlement proposal. Saleh al-Mutlaq, the head of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, called the PMU law the final destruction of the settlement.
Sheikh Khamis al-Khanjar, an influential Sunni leader, also rejected the national settlement proposal after meeting Dec. 6 with Jan Kubis, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Kubis had tried to convince him to participate in the settlement.
The Sunni blocs now have three options. According to Ahmad al-Sulmani, a member of the Sunni Union of Nationalist Forces, the first option is to challenge the PMU law in federal court; the second option is to negotiate amendments. Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Shiite national Sadrist movement, has presented proposed amendments to the PMU law to Iraqi President Fuad Masum and parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri.
If both of those options fail, the Sunni blocs would have to resort to completely boycotting the national settlement project, which has been embraced by the largely Shiite Iraqi National Alliance, headed by Ammar al-Hakim.
Sulmani told Al-Monitor, “The Sunni blocs in the Iraqi parliament were hoping to find a solution to the PMU and integrate it within the army and police force. However, after the National Alliance insisted on turning the PMU into an institution, we agreed so long as it would be accepted by all parties and passed by consensus.”
The most important amendments that the Union of Nationalist Forces wants to make to the PMU law include preventing individuals accused of violating the rights of civilians from being integrated within the PMU institution, leaving the task of controlling areas liberated from IS to the army, not the PMU, and raising the percentage of Sunni fighters in PMU ranks to 40%. PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Asadi said in November that there were some 9,000 Sunni fighters — only 8% of the PMU total force of about 110,000.
“Sunni parties refused to receive the draft … from the National Alliance and agreed among themselves not to be part of this settlement as long as [the Shiite parties] do not show good intentions, particularly in amending the PMU law,” Sulmani added.
The National Alliance said it aims to involve all parties in the Iraqi national settlement project, to resolve outstanding issues and disagreements and eliminate all political issues for the post-IS phase.
However, not only did passing the PMU law by majority — without the consent of all political parties in parliament — make Sunni parties doubt the seriousness of the “settlement,” it also raised the ire of Sadrists, who object to the law in its current form.
He noted in a statement that he has urged the three presidencies to “integrate the PMU within the official security forces.” He added, “To avoid all sectarian, political and security issues, I believe it would be best to take into consideration all proposals, especially after the parliament agreed on this integration.”
In addition, Sadr stressed in his recommendation “the need to keep all those who wish to stir sectarian strife at an arm’s length, along with those who sold out two-thirds of Iraq.” He was referring to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, under whose management two-thirds of the country was lost to IS.
This Sadrist-Sunni rapprochement will keep the debate over the PMU institution going for quite a while if changes aren’t drafted by the president or the federal court. That would mean that Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades), the Sadrist movement’s military wing under the PMU umbrella, would not remain with the PMU. A Sunni division would emerge between parties that do wish to join the PMU and political parties objecting to the PMU’s current form. This tense situation also threatens the settlement project.
For his part, Salim Shawki, a member of the Al-Mouwaten bloc, headed by Hakim, told Al-Monitor, “The real problem facing the national settlement project does not lie in the PMU law at all; it is rather represented by the large number of parties wishing to be part of this project.”
He added, “Many parties claim to be representing Sunnis, which is turning into the biggest obstacle for the settlement. … Most parties agreed on the PMU law, and those that objected only want to amend a few of its provisions.”
Despite the long discussions conducted before the PMU law was passed, critics said its provisions were too general and lacked details. For instance, the law does not specify the number of fighters who would officially join the PMU, although Asadi had noted there will be 142,000 fighters, including 30,000-40,000 Sunnis.
It would be a first for an Iraqi security institution to be divided according to sects. This is why the law avoided mentioning ratios. However, all concerned parties noted that Sunnis and Shiites will control the liberated areas according to certain percentages, under the command of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
In this context, Abadi noted in a statement approving the PMU law: “Under the law, the PMU has come under the direct leadership of the general commander of the armed forces. This law will represent all Iraqi people and defend Iraqis wherever they are. This will not please those seeking chaos who tried to impede the law for a long time.”
For the first time ever, Shiite factions will officially be under government administration, and perhaps the state will be able to adjust their activities and follow up on their actions, allowing it to pursue and hold accountable the factions and armed groups that are not affiliated with the PMU.
However, one cannot tell how the prime minister will deal with Saraya al-Salam if they decide not to join the PMU under the law, as well as other Sunni factions such as the National Mobilization, headed by Atheel al-Nujaifi, the former governor of Ninevah province. It remains uncertain how the law would be able to integrate all PMU factions and isolate them from their previous leaderships.
Most importantly, many observers wonder what position the government would take if the PMU decides — either officially or unofficially — to participate in the battles in Syria, especially since Maliki had announced that the PMU would be heading to Syria after liberating Mosul.