The Antichrist Coddles up to the Saudis

Muqtada al-Sadr: Riyadh serves as regional ‘father figure’

Al Arabiya
Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of The Sadrist Movement in Iraq, stated that visions were aligned during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah last month.
Al-Sadr said that Riyadh serves as a “father figure” in its efforts to bring peace to the region.
In an interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on August 11, 2017, al-Sadr said that the two parties discussed several files of concern to the region, including Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Jerusalem, Iran-Saudi relations, as well as Baghdad’s ties to Riyadh.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a meeting with Muqtada al-Sadr in Jeddah last month. (Supplied)
He characterized the meeting as being transparent and honest. Al-Sadr pointed out that all the conflicts in the region can be solved gradually even if it took time, noting that this includes the status quo between the four countries Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, on the one hand, and Qatar, on the other.
He believes that Qatar showed reluctance to compromise, but will eventually come to its senses.
He also called for the stepping down of Assad, as the head of the regime in Syria, pointing out that when he is out of the picture, it would contribute to peace.
Last Update: Saturday, 12 August 2017 KSA 17:12 – GMT 14:12

Nuclear War is Inevitable (Revelation 15)

Nuclear Deterrence Will Fail
Ward Wilson
A US MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired during the combined military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea against North Korea, July 5, 2017. (South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)
This week President Donald Trump got angry. With his arms folded across his chest, his eyes darting around the room, you can feel the emotion behind his words: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The president’s remarks were clear evidence of a danger that must be addressed.
Not the danger of this particular crisis—there is little we can do about that. For now, US law puts no impediments—no checks or balances—on the president’s ability to launch a nuclear war. Instead, what the president’s words highlighted was the inevitable failure, over the long run, of nuclear deterrence.
For decades, US security policy has relied on a theory, an idea about how human beings are likely to behave. And we, as a nation, have agreed to run risks based on this idea that the threat of mass destruction can prevent attacks. Nuclear deterrence seems sensible enough. Who, after all, would be crazy enough to start a nuclear war? And, for the most part, our presidents seemed to confirm that nuclear weapons were secure in American hands.
As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is fond of saying, there are no right hands for nuclear weapons. The problem is the need for perfection. A single slip up could lead to catastrophe. The instruments of deterrence are inherently fallible. I’m not talking about the computers that control our arsenal and its early warning systems, though Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control does an admirable job of explaining the risks inherent in keeping thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. But the machines are not the main problem—we are.
Nuclear deterrence is not a computer that purrs quietly in a corner on its own. Human beings are intimately involved at every step. As the president is so vividly demonstrating, people lose their tempers, overreact, and get overwhelmed by emotion. People can lose their sanity—raving and acting at random.
Nuclear advocates have said for decades that nuclear weapons can’t be gotten rid of, because they “can’t be disinvented.” This is undeniably true, but also entirely specious. No technology is ever disinvented. Who disinvented the PalmPilot? Who disinvented black and white TV? Who disinvented the Hiller VZ-1—a flying platform designed to lift a single soldier 10 to 20 feet up into the air? These technologies weren’t “disinvented,” they were abandoned, either because better technology came along (as with PalmPilots and black and white TVs), or because people simply realized the original technologies weren’t all that useful (like the Hiller VZ-1—why would you put a soldier in a position where the person’s both especially noticeable and entirely vulnerable?) Nuclear weapons fall into the second category. They’re just not very good for anything, except slaughtering civilians en masse.
Of course we can get rid of nuclear weapons—if they’re stupid technology. Imagine you bought a new kind of stove that (you heard later) blew up on a regular basis and, it turned out, couldn’t even boil water. Why would anyone keep technology that is both dangerous and virtually useless?
Eliminating nuclear weapons used to be considered pie-in-the-sky utopianism. But since 2008, when four cold war hawks of considerable standing—Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense William Perry, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and Senator Sam Nunn—came out in favor of eliminating nuclear weapons the debate has shifted.
Nuclear weapons advocates imagine all sorts of exaggerated powers for nuclear weapons: They protect us, cement our alliances, even uphold the world order that sustains our prosperity. In their obsessed minds, nuclear weapons are essential. But their beliefs are based on misperception and wishful thinking, not reality.
People point to the fact that nuclear weapons haven’t been used in 70 years as proof that they are awesome, portentous weapons, too powerful to use. And the fact of their disuse is suggestive; it suggests they are lousy weapons. It’s possible no one has used nuclear weapons for 70 years not because there is a kind of holy dread and wonder that surrounds them but because no one has been able to find a situation in which the weapons would actually be useful.
If you want to judge the question of whether nuclear weapons are essential or not, a far more telling piece of evidence comes from when George H.W. Bush retired almost all of the tactical nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. What was telling was not what was said, but rather what wasn’t said. No one demanded their nuclear weapons back. No military officers went to Congress, sat at the witness table, and demanded the return of their tactical nuclear weapons. No one pounded the table, shouting, “Those weapons are essential for the safety and security of this great nation!” Their silence speaks volumes about how military professionals judge the military utility of nuclear weapons.
We need to dispel the nuclear believers’ dark fever dream of awe and power, and insist on hard, cold reality: Nuclear weapons are risky, blundering weapons whose only real use—deterrence—will lead to catastrophe.
Trump’s threat signals the end of the delusion that nuclear deterrence can be safe. If even stable, mature democracies can elect leaders who can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons, then there is no way to justify keeping them.

No, Kissinger’s View of the Shia Crescent is Correct

Sunni-Shia-Map-PEWKissinger’s Dangerously Flawed Views on Iran
by Eldar Mamedov
There are few people in the universe of US foreign policy with the standing and prestige of Henry Kissinger. He is still actively giving his opinions and recommendations on critical diplomatic issues. All the more concerning, then, that on some of them his analysis is increasingly out of touch with reality. The danger is that the Kissinger’s imprimatur confers on some seriously flawed ideas an intellectual respectability that would otherwise have been lacking. Relations with Iran are a case in point.
In a recent article Kissinger warned that the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would lead to a consolidation of an “Iranian radical empire” if the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their “Shiite allies” in Iraq and Syria inherit the territory currently occupied by IS.
Whatever the reasons prompting someone with the reputation of preeminent realist to parrot this neoconservative mantra, the talk of a “radical Iranian empire” is utter nonsense, with dangerous implications if followed by the policymakers.
The reality that escapes Kissinger is that Iran’s regional policy is of a fundamentally defensive nature. Unlike other states in the region, Iran has no external security provider. While Turkey is a member of NATO and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Israel enjoy an extensive security relationship with the US, Iran can only rely on itself. The war with Iraq, when almost the entire world rallied behind Baghdad against Tehran, has made Iranians painfully aware of this reality, and to this day deeply permeates their security thinking.
To neutralize or mitigate threats, Iran has cultivated a network of allies and proxies in the Middle East, which could be deployed as a forward defense in order to keep threats away from Iran’s borders. Contrary to the myth of the Shiite character of the new empire Iran is supposedly building, these forces are neither ideologically nor religiously homogenous: the spectrum spans from conventional Shiite Islamists like Lebanese Hezbollah to secular dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to Sunni fundamentalists like Hamas and even to a flirtation with Wahhabi Qatar when the opportunity presented itself.
On the other hand, as the recent visit of politically prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to Saudi Arabia has shown, Iran is very far from controlling the political life of what are supposed to be the integral parts of its “empire.” The government of Iraq, even if Shia-dominated, has never been Tehran’s puppet. Even if the majority of Iraqis are Shias, they are also Arabs, and it would be foolish to dismiss the potency of Arab nationalism.
There is no evidence whatsoever that the majority of Shias in Iraq—or other Arab countries where their presence is significant like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia—see themselves as part of a Persian-led “empire,” subscribe to the unorthodox velayat-e fakih (the rule of the religious jurist) import from Iran, or recognize the Ayatollah Khamenei, rather than, for example, Ayatollah Sistani, as their supreme spiritual and political authority. Any sympathy for Iran to be found in those countries is largely a product of severe domestic repression of the local Shias by the Sunni monarchies rather than an imperial Iranian design—a point that Kissinger conveniently neglects to mention.
Further to the west, Syria’s secular dictatorship has relied heavily on Iran for its survival. But Iran is not the only actor in the country. Assad’s regime also has close ties with Russia, who is on the same side as Iran in that country’s war but not with identical interests. And in Lebanon, although Hezbollah undoubtedly has close ideological and operational links with Iran, it is first and foremost a grassroots Lebanese organization: an ally, not a client, of Iran.
If Kissinger were right, then Iran would have been well on its way to imposing on the region the kind of top-down relationship enjoyed by the Soviet Union vis-à-vis its satellites in Central Europe after the defeat of the Nazi Germany. Yet, as the examples above suggest, Iran is simply not powerful enough to accomplish that even if it sincerely wanted to. As a result, Iran, like other regional players, has to adapt to a set of constantly shifting regional dynamics at least as much as it contributes to shaping them. Iran is an opportunist rather than an imperial power.
For the sake of argument, however, let’s imagine for a moment that Kissinger is right, that a “radical Iranian empire” is indeed in the cards, and that such a nefarious development must be prevented at all cost. Although he doesn’t say so directly, Kissinger is implying that the US has to ensure the survival of IS to balance the “Iranian empire.” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a close ally of President Trump, already muttered an idea along these lines in the wake of the IS-perpetrated terrorist attacks in Tehran in June this year. Although not even Iran uber-hawks support Rohrabacher’s loathsome views, this idea, when endorsed by someone of Kissinger’s stature, could become much more influential, especially in the current climate of demonization of Iran in Washington.
Although Iran is certainly not sinless, there is no reason to single it out as a uniquely malign influence in the region. And under no circumstances should the US even consider supporting or tolerating in any way a vicious terrorist organization like IS. To the contrary, its imminent defeat should be used by all responsible actors in the region and beyond as an opportunity to start talks on a truly inclusive, multilateral regional security arrangement, with the legitimate interests of all states on board. Nothing is to be gained by the perpetuation of zero-sum games of the sort advocated by Henry Kissinger in his latest, misguided essay.
This article reflects the personal views of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the European Parliament.
*This article was modified on August 11, 2017 to reflect Dana Rohrabacher’s party affiliation.

LA Will Be The First Nuclear Casualty (Revelation 16)

A Los Angeles suburb released this ominous video about how to survive a nuclear attack

Leanna Garfield and Dave Mosher
Aug. 9, 2017, 3:36 PM 4,246
Earlier this week, an analysis from US intelligence officials revealed that North Korea has figured out how to fit nuclear warheads on missiles, and that the country may have up to 60 nuclear weapons. (Some independent experts estimate the figure is much smaller).
On Monday, North Korea issued a stark warning to the US: If you attack us, we will retaliate with nuclear weapons.
Several American cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Honolulu, have response plans for terrorist attacks, including so-called “dirty bombs” containing radioactive material. But few have publicized plans to deal with a real nuclear explosion.
One exception is Ventura County, a suburb about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In 2003, the local government launched a PSA campaign called Readythat aims to educate Americans how to survive a nuclear attack. The goal, according to the campaign site, is to “increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.”
One of the more recent PSA videos is the one below, published in 2014. It opens with a short message from Ventura County public health officer Dr. Robert Levin, then cuts to a little girl with an ominous expression around the one-minute mark.
“Mom, I know you care about me,” she says. “When I was five, you taught me how to stop, drop, and roll … But what if something bigger happens?” The video then flashes to the girl walking down empty streets alone.
The Ventura County Health Care Agency has published several guides on what to do in the event of a nuclear bomb hitting the area. As the girl says in the video above, the agency’s focus is to “go in, stay in, tune in.”
The scenario assumes a terrorist-caused nuclear blast of about 10 kilotons’ worth of TNT or less. Few people would survive within the immediate damage zone, which may extend up to one or two miles wide, but those outside would have a chance.
Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist and radiation expert at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, previously told Business Insider that he likes Ventura County’s PSAs because they’re simple and easy to remember. “There is a ton of guidance and information out there,” he said, but “it’s kind of too hard to digest quickly.”
Buddemeier said you’d have about 15 minutes – maybe a little bit longer, depending on how far away you are from the blast site – to get to the center of a building to avoid devastating exposure to radioactive fallout. Going below-ground is even better.
“Stay in, 12 to 24 hours, and tune in – try to use whatever communication tools you have. We’re getting better about being able to broadcast messages to cell phones, certainly the hand-cranked radio is a good idea – your car radio, if you’re in a parking garage with your car,” he said.
The protection factor that various buildings, and locations within them, offer from the radioactive fallout of a nuclear blast. The higher the number, the greater the protection.Brooke Buddemeier/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Buddemeier adds, however, that you shouldn’t try to drive away or stay in your car for very long, because it can’t really protect you. Today’s vehicles are made of glass and very light metals, and offer almost no shielding from damaging radiation.
In large cities, hundreds of thousands of people would be at risk of potentially deadly exposure. But fallout casualties are preventable, Buddemeier said.
“All of those hundreds of thousands of people could prevent that exposure that would make them sick by sheltering. So, this has a huge impact: Knowing what to do after an event like this can literally save hundreds of thousands of people from radiation illness or fatalities,” he said.