Pakistan Seeks Nuclear Legitimacy (Daniel 8)

By Editorial of The Express Tribune

For years, Pakistan has sought membership of the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that is a basket of nuclear trading nations, thus far with little success. There were few nations that were prepared to back Pakistan in large part because fears — real or imagined — surrounding the security of nuclear weapons and nuclear sites. As security has improved in the last two years and the threat to the state from powerful terrorist groups reduced, it is time to knock at the door of the NSG again and this time with at least one powerful backer.

Russia, with which Pakistan has an evolving relationship, has said via a diplomat speaking at a seminar, ‘Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Strategy Stability’, that it was not opposed to our NSG candidature. Russia favoured a criteria-based approach for non-NPT states and that Russia was working with China in evolving a formula that will ‘be acceptable to all’. There is a mutuality about this as Pakistan has supported Russia in its stance on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The backdrop to this is the shifting regional picture as India moves to the forefront, China seeks to develop as a hegemon, Russia works on the post-Cold War scenario as it mends long-broken fences and the US wakes up to the risk of being outflanked by old opponents. Tensions still exist between China and India which can occasionally ‘go hot’ as they did in the ‘Chickens Neck’ incident in August of this year. Both India and Pakistan are developing or have deployed defensive and deterrent conventional systems costing vast sums that neither nation can easily afford yet neither can avoid the reality of if any sort of parity is to be maintained. In truth, the Pakistan membership of the NSG is no closer than it was a week ago, but Russia has put down a marker that makes its position clear to both India and America. The Americans are backing India in its developing relationship with Afghanistan which is urging a greater Indian diplomatic role regionally. The NSG and membership thereof is a stage on which a far bigger game is playing out.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2017.

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Big Apple Shake: the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Big Apple shake? Potential for earthquake in New York City exists


NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) – For the last 43 years John Armbruster has been a seismologist with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.  A veteran of what he describes as “a couple of dozen” quakes, he is interested in the seismic activity throughout the Pacific region in recent weeks.

However, does the amount of plate movements around the world in recent weeks as well as years to translate to New York City being more vulnerable, “These earthquakes are not communicating with each other, they are too far apart,” said Armbruster in an interview with PIX 11 News on Wednesday.

What would a magnitude 6.0 earthquake inflict upon the city?

“We know that its unlikely because it hasn’t happened in the last 300 years but the earthquake that struck Fukushima Japan was the 1000 year earthquake and they weren’t ready for the that.

The Antichrist’s Men Join Iraq state security

Sistani calls for Shiite militias to be part of Iraq state security

Agence France-Presse

Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, has opposed calls to disband a controversial paramilitary force which was instrumental in defeating ISIL group in the country.

Iraq is “always in desperate need of heroic men who have backed up the army and federal police and who fought alongside them on different fronts”, said Abdel Mahdi Al Karabalai, the ayatollah’s representative.

“We need to continue to benefit from this important source of energy, within the constitution and judicial framework,” he said in a sermon at Friday prayers in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, south of the capital.

Mr Al Karabalai stressed that the Hashed Al Shaabi’s arms belonged to the state and its mission was to defend national security.

The force was established in 2014 after Mr Al Sistani urged Iraqi citizens to take up arms against ISIL militants who had swept aside government forces and seized control of much of northern Iraq.

But the Hashed, a Shiite-dominated alliance, remains deeply divisive and has been accused of a string of abuses.

Known in English as the Popular Mobilisation Units, the various forces within the Hashed can field a total of between 60,000 and 140,000 fighters.

Iraq’s parliament has classed it as a state force operating within the constitution.

Calls have been growing from the West for the Hashed to disband, with French president Emmanuel Macron proposing “a gradual demilitarisation” of the group and for all militias in Iraq to be “dismantled”.

On Monday, the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr ordered his fighters in the Hashed Al Shaabi, known as the Saraya Al Salam, or Peace Brigades, to disband and hand over territory held by them to state security forces.

But Hashed spokesman Ahmad Al Assadi, who is also a member of parliament, said that Mr Al Sistani wanted the Hashed units to be retained as part of Iraq’s security system.

The Hashed suffered 7,637 dead and 21,300 wounded in the three-year war to drive out ISIL, according to a top Hashed commander, Qais Khazali.

Iraq declared final victory over ISIL on December 9, saying the extremist group had been driven out of all the Iraqi territory it once held.

Saudi Arabia one step closer to becoming a Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Saudi Arabia one step closer to gaining US nuclear technology

The New Arab

Could Saudi Arabia soon go nuclear? [Getty-file photo]

Date of publication: 16 December, 2017

Donald Trump has told congress on US efforts to secure multi-billion dollar reactor projects in Saudi Arabia, but did not reveal if loosening uranium enrichment rules. White House officials informed members of the Congress this week about a prospective multi-billion contract to build reactors to Saudi Arabia, in-line with Donald Trump’s campaign promise to kick-start the US nuclear industry.

They did not, however, comment on mounting rumours that the administration might loosen Obama-era restrictions on uranium enrichment technology to Saudi Arabia, something vital to the chances of a US company winning the bid.

Enriched uranium could in theory be coverted by Riyadh into fissile material, something that could be eventually developed into making a nuclear weapon.

Giving Riyadh the technology to enrich uranium would undoubtedly lead to increased tensions with arch-rival Iran, which has embarked on its own nuclear programme.

Both countries have denied they have any ambitions to build nuclear weapons, although Riyadh believes Iran’s nuclear programme is a cover for it developing the bomb.

Reports that the US might drop the restrictions on uranium enrichment techology were revealed by Bloomberg this week and coincide with a visit to the kingdom by Energy Minister Rick Perry.

US nuclear tech giant Westinghouse face tough compeition from Russian, Chinese and Korean rivals to build some 16 nuclear reactors over the next 20 to 25 years, which is expected to cost $80 billion.

Having the option of nuclear refinement on the table would be a big boost in Westinghouse’s chances winning the bid after recent domestic business disasters.

Saudi Arabia has refused to sign any deals with the US which does not include nuclear refinement options, Reuters reported.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were briefed by officials from Trump’s energy ministry this week although it was scant on details regarding progress on the issue.

A 2008 law states that Senate and House bodies must be “fully informed” on major foreign policy decisions, which is something that congressman feel has been lacking under Trump.

“We’re frustrated by the lack of briefings and having to yet again learn about potential foreign policy developments from the press,” one congressional aide told Reuters.

“It also appears that this is policy being driven out of the White House, which makes congressional oversight that much harder.”

Dynamics of the first nuclear war (Revelation 8)

Dynamics of nuclear escalation in South Asia

Daily Times

In the past few decades, development in conventional and nuclear spheres have rapidly transformed the security scenario of the South Asian region. Deterrence is considered the key element to maintain stability and peace in the region. However, various ‘technical’ and ‘non-technical’ elements play a central role in determining the conventional and nuclear deterrence to achieve the aims of limited and total war strategies.

The technical elements comprise of conventional and nuclear force posture, military capabilities, strategies and operational defence postures. Whereas the non-technical elements include geography and demography. Both, technical and non-technical elements play a crucial role in determining the ‘rungs of nuclear escalation ladder’ of South Asia.

Multiple factors perform a significant role in shaping the deterrence properties and strategic dynamics of South Asia. Primarily ‘three rungs to the nuclear escalation ladder’ have increased the risk of escalation in the region. Firstly, for India and Pakistan, the existence of conventional asymmetries, security dilemma, conventional and strategic arms race, defence production gap, nuclear offensive and defensive capabilities, absence of arms control measures and threat reduction measures has increased the threat of conflict escalation or initiating conflict among regional powers; secondly, the existence of complex triangular relation among China-India-Pakistan poses a serious challenge to the security calculations of region; thirdly, the engagement of Great Powers in the region for the pursuit of their own global strategic objectives has disturbed the security calculus of South Asia.

Since the beginning, India has adopted a multi-dimensional tactic to bully Pakistan. Cease-fire violations by Indian forces have collapsed the peace talks between both states. India’s military officials justify the violation of the ceasefire agreement but maintain that Pakistan helps terrorists infiltrating into Indian Territory. Therefore, On September 29, 2016, Indian officials claimed that their troops conducted surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir against the suspected militants, as these militants were preparing to carry out attacks on major cities of India. Such rhetorical claims and tactics of India’s political and strategic elites proves their failure to understand the significance of a regional strategic equation. Such false claims and undermining of Pakistan’s conventional and nuclear capabilities shows that Indian military and political elites are strategically irresponsible and immature.

In response to India’s multi-dimensional strategies to bully and destabilise Pakistan, the country has opted for a strategy of ‘maintaining nuclear deterrence’ by enhancing its conventional and nuclear military capabilities

Consequently, the disturbed Balance of Power (BOP) in the region is proportional to India’s conventional and strategic force developments. Such developments have led to the increase in the arms race in the region. In order to pursue its global and regional ambitions such as covering the gap with China and superiority over Pakistan, India has increased its nuclear and missile development program. Additionally, India’s increasing military budget and military modernisation of three forces characterised by the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD), loopholes in nuclear Doctrine, and Missile proliferation and Ballistic Missile Defence system (BMD) is viewed as a threat for Pakistan and for the other regional states as well.

India is pursuing offensive force posture to achieve its regional and global ambitions without realising that the evolving nuclear trends and India’s ignorant and irresponsible strategic manoeuvres may quicken the pace up to the nuclear escalation ladder.

For the moment, the shift in the US strategy in South Asia; demonstrates that India is chosen and preferred strategic ally of the US to safeguard its interest in Asia. The formation of the new Foreign Policy of the US towards India to enhance Indo-US bilateral ties has led to the formulation of new strategic poles in the region; one in the Indo-US nexus and the second is China-Pakistan’s strategic bond. Such a strategic dyad has added more complex dimensions to the power politics of South Asia.

In response to India’s multi-dimensional strategies to bully Pakistan and destabilising maniac obsession with military superiority, Pakistan has opted for a counter measure strategy of ‘maintaining nuclear deterrence’ by enhancing its conventional and nuclear military capabilities.

For instance, Pakistan developed the low-yield, battle field weapon NASR, to counter India’s pro-active strategy of Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). Pakistan’s surface to surface ballistic missile; Ababeel (MIRV) is a significant contribution in the defence arrangements of Pakistan to neutralise the Indian BMD system. Development of NASR and Ababeel aims at maintaining the deterrence stability and prevent conflict escalation.

Therefore, crises in South Asia have not yet reached the conventional and nuclear escalation ladder because the India’s reckless Cold Start Doctrine and nuclear option was addressed by Pakistan’s wise efforts at maintaining credible deterrence. In this regard, full spectrum deterrence is a viable strategy, which Pakistan has adopted. It implies preventing nuclear conflict escalation. In effect, Pakistan must enhance its nuclear deterrence requirements in response to Indian nuclear developments and advancements.

The writer is currently working as Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute and can be reached

Published in Daily Times, December 17th 2017.