Antichrist Prepares To Unify Iraq

The defeat of Isis in Mosul could spark “genocide” in Iraq as sectarian groups clash, a Shia leader has warned.
“I’m afraid that the defeat of Daesh [Isis] is only the start of a new phase,” he told Middle East Eye.
“My proposal is inspired by fear of sectarian and ethnic conflict after Mosul’s liberation,
The influential role Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has in Iraq
“I want to avoid this. I am very proud of Iraq’s diversity but my fear is that we may see a genocide of some ethnic or sectarian groups.”
Mr Sadr is calling for dialogue between Iraq’s Shia-led government and Sunni politicians, as well as Arab and Kurdish representatives to avoid new conflict.
He previously warned of a “dark future” for Iraq in an interview with The Independent in 2013, when he predicted that its people would “disintegrate” amid worsening sectarian hostility between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Mr Sadr had little hope of tensions easing after decades of a “constant cycle of violence” seeing Saddam Hussein’s rule followed by the US invasion and then the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its successor Isis, which frequently bombs Shia civilians.
It is staging a last stand in western Mosul – its last city stronghold in Iraq – after months of advances by international forces that face residential areas ridden with guerilla fighters and explosives.
Mr Sadr wants wants all militias, including his own anti-Isis Saraya al-Salam militia to be disbanded after their expected victory. It is the successor of Mr Sadr’s Mahdi Army, which he stood down in 2007 following alleged atrocities as the group fought against the US occupation of Iraq.
They are not among the groups fighting alongside Iraqi government forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and foreign allies to drive Isis out of the city of Mosul.
The most prominent militia is the predominantly Shia Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), who were formally integrated into government forces in November but have been continually accused of war crimes against Sunni civilians.
Troops from Britain, America and other members of the US-led coalition are also on the ground in Iraq, as well as militias backed by the Iranian government.
In a document detailing Mr Sadr’s proposal for peace, he demands Iraq “must request all invading and friendly forces to leave Iraq”, regardless of their affiliation.
His family were enemies of the Saddam regime, which assassinated his father and two brothers in 1999.
One battleground was Basra, where his Mahdi Army seized parts of the city from British forces in 2004 and forced the UK to withdraw in 2007 while battling in other parts of Iraq.
While still opposing all foreign intervention, Mr Sadr has now restyled himself as a peacemaker and politician, leading huge and occasionally violent anti-corruption protests in Baghdad.
Amid growing talk of a power struggle with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in December, the pair met in December and agreed to cooperate on political reforms after “fruitful” talks.

North Korea Ready to War

North Korea said Monday it is not frightened by U.S. threats of possible pre-emptive military action to halt its nuclear and missile buildup.
A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent talk of tougher sanctions, more pressure, and possible military action, and said the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program.
“The nuclear force of (North Korea) is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence to defend the socialist motherland and the life of its people,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.
Tillerson recently visited Japan, South Korea and China on trip that focused on North Korea’s nuclear program. On Friday, he signaled a tougher strategy that left open the possibility of pre-emptive military action.
“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said after visiting the heavily militarized border between the rival Koreas. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”
A day earlier, in Japan, Tillerson had described the past 20 years of U.S. policy toward North Korea as a failure and vowed a comprehensive policy review under U.S. President Donald Trump.
KCNA quoted the unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying the U.S. should accept that North Korea is a nuclear-capable nation that “has the will and capability to fully respond to any war the U.S. would like to ignite.”
“If the businessmen-turned U.S. authorities thought that they would frighten (North Korea), they would soon know that their method would not work,” he said.
On Saturday, North Korea conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un called a revolutionary breakthrough for the country’s space program, KCNA reported earlier.
North Korea has accelerated its weapons development, violating multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions without being deterred by sanctions. It conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests last year. Experts say it could have a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland within a few years.

Korea Continues To Push Nuclear Threshold

By Stephanie Nebehay | GENEVA
This includes developing a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
Reuters, quoting a senior U.S. official in Washington, reported on Monday that the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat. (For Monday’s story, click
“I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China…We of course are not afraid of any act like that,” Choe told Reuters.
He called existing sanctions “heinous and inhumane”.
North Korea has been under sanctions for “half a century” but the communist state survives by placing an emphasis on juche or “self-sufficiency”, he said. His country wants a forum set up to examine the “legality and legitimacy of the sanctions regime”.
He denounced joint annual military exercises currently being carried out by the United States and South Korea on the divided peninsula and criticized remarks by Tillerson during his talks with regional allies last week.
“All he was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK,” Choe said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea rejects claims by Washington and Seoul that the military drills are defensive. They involve strategic nuclear bombers and a nuclear submarine, Columbus, that recently entered South Korean ports, he said.”In the light of such huge military forces involved in the joint military exercises, we have no other choice but to continue with our full acceleration of the nuclear programs and missile programs. It is because of these hostile activities on the part of the United States and South Korea.”
“We strengthen our national defense capability as well as pre-emptive strike capabilities with nuclear forces as a centerpiece,” Choe said.
Asked to comment on Choe’s remarks, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Anna Richey-Allen, called on North Korea “to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric…and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks.”
Choe declined to give technical details of North Korea’s latest rocket engine test on Sunday – seen as a possible prelude to a partial ICBM flight – calling it a great historical event that would lead to “fruitful outcomes”.
“I can tell you for sure that the inter-continental ballistic rockets of the DPRK will be launched at any time and at any place as decided by our Supreme Leadership,” Choe said, recalling leader Kim Jong Un’s pledge in a New Year’s address.
Analysts say North Korea has likely mastered the technology to power the different stages of an ICBM and may show it off soon, but is likely still a long way from being able to hit the mainland United States.
“The United States has been talking about launching pre-emptive strikes at North Korea,” Choe said. “And we have been prepared to deter, to counter-attack such attacks on the part of the United States.
“We would utilize every possible means in our hands and the inter-continental ballistic rocket is one of them.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington; editing by Ralph Boulton and Jonathan Oatis)

Saudis Join The Ten Horns (Daniel 7)

Welcome to the geopolitical edition of Oil Markets Daily!
In a move seen by some as non-material, we view the latest positive discussion between Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Trump as the start of a potential shift in geopolitics for the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has been a long-time ally of the US, but the relationship between the Saudis and the US deteriorated during Obama’s administration. The lackluster welcoming gesture demonstrated by the Saudis during Obama’s visit last year was one of many signs that the Saudis did not find the Iran Nuclear Deal in July 2015 to be one that was aligned with its vision.
During President Trump’s campaign, he called the Iran Nuclear Deal as one of the biggest disasters in the history of foreign policy making. He has since vowed to take a harsher stance on Iran, but has not given in detail exactly what he plans to do.
Geopolitical analysts that have followed the conflict between Saudi and Iran point to the eventuality that if the world powers do not stop Iran from obtaining nuclear bombs, then it’s highly likely that Saudi Arabia will obtain the bombs by acquiring them through Pakistan. Having two nuclear armed countries that are bitter rivals only separated by the Persian Gulf is not a stable geopolitical environment to have.
The Bush and Obama administration understood the issues and potential risks with Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb. Tactics like Olympic Games, and Nitro Zeus were used to stop Iran by destroying centrifuges, but after the Iranians found out about the viruses, the attacks were stopped and Iran’s centrifuges started to grow exponentially.
The inevitability of this outcome and the uncertainty future geopolitical tensions bring in the future will likely force the Trump administration to work closely with Saudi Arabia and its Middle East allies to defuse the situation. Although Iran has said that it’s currently performing under the IEAE standards, it’s still not certain what eventually happens after the deal is concluded in 10 years. These concerns were pushing the Saudis and the Israelis to move in a separate direction until Trump became president. We think the stance on Iran will be much tougher going forward, and this will likely impact Iran’s recent growth, oil production, and geopolitical ambitions negatively. We view the recent positive meeting between the Saudi Prince and President Trump as a turning point in geopolitical collaboration towards Iran.
Disclosure:I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

India Will Change Its No First Nuke Policy (Revelation 8)

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy: Expert

During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.
The remarks by Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before a Washington audience was though a negation of India’s stated policy of ‘no first use’.
During the 2017 Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Narang said, “There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first”.
But, he pointed out, India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.
“India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction,” Narang said.
He said this thinking surfaces not from fringe extreme voices or retired Indian Army officers frustrated by the lack of resolve they believe their government has shown in multiple provocations, but from no less than a former Commander of India’s Strategic Forces, Lt Gen BS Nagal.
It also comes perhaps more importantly and authoritatively, from the highly-respected and influential former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon in his 2016 book ‘Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy’, the nuclear strategist said.
“So our conventional understanding of South Asia’s nuclear dynamics and who, in fact, might use nuclear weapons first and in what mode may need a hard rethink given these emerging authoritative voices in India who are not content to cede the nuclear initiative to Pakistan,” he said, adding that this would mark a major shift in Indian strategy if implemented.
Sameer Lalwani, senior associate and deputy director South Asia at the Stimson Center, an American think-tank, said Narang’s remarks challenged the conventional wisdom of South Asia’s strategic stability problem.

US Prepares For Nuclear War (Revelation 18)

US General: Russian ‘Aggression’ Justifies Upgrades to Nuclear Weapons

Says US Overdue for Major Nuclear Upgrades

by Jason Ditz, March 22, 2017
Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein the deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence, today argued for the US to advance on a costly proposal to modernize and upgrade their massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, insisting that the “much more aggressive” behavior by Russia justified such a move.
Weinstein, an Air Force general whose puvieww is mostly the US nuclear arsenal, argued that history had shown that keeping huge numbers of nuclear weapons on hand “basically kept the peace” since World War II, and that he sleeps very well at night knowing the US has such a large arsenal.
Weinstein’s argument that the move is “justified” ignores the question of whether it is affordable, as estimates have put the modernization scheme’s overall cost well in excess of a trillion dollars, above and beyond an already massive military budget that continues to grow annually.
But like most generals, he wants more and newer weapons. Indeed, Weinstein argued that the US nuclear arsenal is mostly the product of the 1960s, and that while there was an upgrade in the 1980s that the US should’ve done similar upgrade around 2001, and was overdue.
The push will likely be welcomed by the Trump Administration, as President Trump has argued that the US has “fallen behind” in nuclear weapons, and needs to have the top arsenal in the world, even though by most metrics, they already have one.