India Expands Its Nuclear Horn (Revelation 8)


India on Monday test-fired a supersonic cruise missile BrahMos off the Odisha coast, Indian media reported.

The missile is said to be an all-weather weapon system. It was fired at 10:18 am from a test range at Chanddipur in Balasore district.

It has a flight range of up to 290 kms and is equipped with many time efficient features. It not only reduces the flight time but ensures lower dispersion of targets, quick engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world. The missile can be as fast as three times the speed of sound, officials said.

The life extension test was able to achieve all its parameters, said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The initiative is a joint venture between India’s DRDO and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia.

On January 18, the Modi administration test-fired Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.

Sharing borders with nuclear-armed China and Pakistan, India test-fired the missile when Israel has already announced that India was restarting talks with the country over a cancelled deal to buy anti-tank missiles.

Sudhir Kumar Mishra, Chief of BrahMos Aerospace, had told PTI, “The test-firing to “validate service life extension” of the missile will take place from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha in the third week of July.”  He also said that the vertical dive capability of BrahMos can be used to target enemies or subjects hiding in mountains and aircraft carriers.

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. The collaboration is responsible for the design, development and production of the missile.

2018: The Year of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Sloshing of Earth’s core may spike major earthquakes

By Paul VoosenOct. 30, 2017 , 1:45 PM

The number of major earthquakes, like the magnitude-7 one that devastated Haiti in 2010, seems to be correlated with minute fluctuations in day length.

SEATTLE—The world doesn’t stop spinning. But every so often, it slows down. For decades, scientists have charted tiny fluctuations in the length of Earth’s day: Gain a millisecond here, lose a millisecond there. Last week at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America here, two geophysicists argued that these minute changes could be enough to influence the timing of major earthquakes—and potentially help forecast them.

During the past 100 years, Earth’s slowdowns have correlated surprisingly well with periods with a global increase in magnitude-7 and larger earthquakes, according to Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick at the University of Montana in Missoula. Usefully, the spike, which adds two to five more quakes than typical, happens well after the slow-down begins. “The Earth offers us a 5-years heads up on future earthquakes, which is remarkable,” says Bilham, who presented the work.

Most seismologists agree that earthquake prediction is a minefield. And so far, Bilham and Bendick have only fuzzy, hard-to-test ideas about what might cause the pattern they found. But the finding is too provocative to ignore, other researchers say. “The correlation they’ve found is remarkable, and deserves investigation,” says Peter Molnar, a geologist also at CU.

The research started as a search for synchrony in earthquake timing. Individual oscillators, be they fireflies, heart muscles, or metronomes, can end up vibrating in synchrony as a result of some kind of cross-talk—or some common influence. To Bendick, it didn’t seem a far jump to consider the faults that cause earthquakes, with their cyclical buildup of strain and violent discharge, as “really noisy, really crummy oscillators,” she says. She and Bilham dove into the data, using the only complete earthquake catalog for the past 100 years: magnitude-7 and larger earthquakes.

In work published in August in Geophysical Research Letters they reported two patterns: First, major quakes appeared to cluster in time

—although not in space. And second, the number of large earthquakes seemed to peak at 32-year intervals. The earthquakes could be somehow talking to each other, or an external force could be nudging the earth into rupture.

Exploring such global forces, the researchers eventually discovered the match with the length of day. Although weather patterns such as El Nino can drive day length to vary back and forth by a millisecond over a year or more, a periodic, decades-long fluctuation of several milliseconds—in particular, its point of peak slow down about every three decades or so—lined up with the quake trend perfectly. “Of course that seems sort of crazy,” Bendick says. But maybe it isn’t. When day length changes over decades, Earth’s magnetic field also develops a temporary ripple. Researchers think slight changes in the flow of the molten iron of the outer core may be responsible for both effects. Just what happens is uncertain—perhaps a bit of the molten outer core sticks to the mantle above. That might change the flow of the liquid metal, altering the magnetic field, and transfer enough momentum between the mantle and the core to affect day length.

Seismologists aren’t used to thinking about the planet’s core, buried 2900 kilometers beneath the crust where quakes happen. But they should, Bilham said during his talk here. The core is “quite close to us. It’s closer than New York from here,” he said.

At the equator, Earth spins 460 meters per second. Given this high velocity, it’s not absurd to think that a slight mismatch in speed between the solid crust and mantle and the liquid core could translate into a force somehow nudging quakes into synchrony, Molnar says. Of course, he adds, “It might be nonsense.” But the evidence for some kind of link is compelling, says geophysicist Michael Manga of the University of California, Berkeley. “I’ve worked on earthquakes triggered by seasonal variation, melting snow. His correlation is much better than what I’m used to seeing.”

One way or another, says James Dolan, a geologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, “we’re going to know in 5 years.” That’s because Earth’s rotation began a periodic slow-down 4-plus years ago. Beginning next year, Earth should expect five more major earthquakes a year than average—between 17 to 20 quakes, compared with the anomalously low four so far this year. If the pattern holds, it will put a new spin on earthquake forecasting.

Iran’s Continued Hegemony Against Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

14Iran_Iraq_unknownIranian hands behind Iraq’s protests


July 16, 2018 15:27

Over the last few days, Iraq’s southern provinces have witnessed widespread protests, with some turning violent. Protesters voiced legitimate demands, but also attacked vital public facilities, such as Najaf International Airport, leading to the suspension of its operations. Offices of political parties were also attacked in what appeared to be a continuation of the political violence taking place elsewhere in Iraq following the May 12 parliamentary elections.

There are two key actors that have an interest in destabilizing Iraq: Daesh and Iran. They feed on each other’s presence and maintain a distant marriage of convenience as they seek to maintain their influence in Iraq.

In last week’s column, I discussed Daesh’s attempts at regrouping in Iraq and elsewhere. The post-election uncertainty has delayed stabilization, feeding popular discontent. More than $30 billion was promised by allies at the international reconstruction conference held in Kuwait in February, but only a limited amount has been delivered due to that uncertainty.

Today, I will address Iran’s direct destabilizing role in Iraq and its interest in stoking the current chaos.

Keeping Iraq under its control would be Tehran’s first option but, if that does not happen, the second best option would be to keep it ungovernable.

Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg

Iran’s interests are multifold. Keeping Iraq under its control would be Tehran’s first option but, if that does not happen, the second best option would be to keep it ungovernable. An independent Iraq would gravitate toward its Arab neighbors and the West, while a chaotic Iraq would keep it dependent on Iran and its proxies.

The most immediate concern for Iran is how to deal with US sanctions. Iraq could help blunt the sanctions’ bite by providing a surreptitious loophole in sanction implementation that Iran could use. As happened in the past, a chaotic Iraq would make it easier to smuggle in banned material and send out exports, including oil.

In addition, a pro-Iranian government could help Tehran deal with its restive western provinces, which have been a main center for anti-regime disturbances.

Iraq’s elections on May 12 did not give any political party a majority to form a new government, but they did produce some hopeful indications that Iraqis wanted a new, independent direction for their country, free of corruption and divisive politics. Voters gave the lead to groups and politicians who advocated such a direction.

The biggest number of parliamentary seats (54) went to a coalition headed by the cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who is fiercely opposed to Iran and outside meddling in general. A pro-Iranian coalition came in second (47 seats), while incumbent Prime Minister Haider Abadi came in third with 42 seats for his coalition. The remainder of the 329 seats were divided among many smaller political, tribal, ethnic and religious lists and individual candidates.

Any future government will have to govern through a coalition, but analysts quickly concluded that the results meant Iran would lose its favored political position in Iraq. That was Tehran’s conclusion as well, it appears. As the election results started coming out and Iran feared it might lose some of its influence in Baghdad, it dispatched officials to try and influence the choice of prime minister and the shape of the future government.

Iran’s moves, combined with recent violence directed against anti-Iranian groups — including the offices of a member of Al-Sadr’s bloc in Baghdad — have complicated the formation of the new government. The longer that impasse continues, the greater the chances that Iran will succeed in derailing the process or producing an unfavorable outcome for Iraq. Dispatching Gen. Qassem Soleimani to Iraq to shore up Iranian support is a bad sign. He is no ordinary political adviser, but the head of the Quds Force, the most notorious wing of Iran’s military that has spread chaos and mayhem throughout the region.

A key demand of the protesters is the restoration of electricity in southern provinces. That electricity used to be supplied by Iran, but was cut off last week. Iran claims it did so because bills had not been paid, but the timing is curious.

Last Friday, Iraq’s electricity ministry said the portion of the national power supplied by Iran had been cut off and that the decision would exacerbate the yearly shortages experienced in the hot summer months. The ministry said the Iranian move had “directly and negatively affected the number of hours” of available electricity in the southern cities of Basra, Nasiriyah and Amara.

In addition to Soleimani’s meddling in the process of forming a coalition government, pro-Iranian militias have also stepped up to the plate in an attempt to poison the atmosphere. The Kata’ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada militia, one of the most notorious groups operating under the Popular Mobilization Forces banner, declared its support for the Houthis in Yemen. The group has been fighting in Iraq and in Syria and has adopted a violent sectarian approach. Abu Walaa Al-Walai, the group’s leader, said in a widely circulated video that he and his militia were ready to fight alongside the Houthis.

At the same time, protesters in the southern provinces have anti-Kuwait and anti-Saudi sentiments, threatening to attack Kuwait first and Saudi Arabia second. Kuwait has already announced that it is taking precautions to protect its borders after protesters attacked border facilities on the Iraqi side. Kuwaiti analysts are also sounding the alarm lest the conflict in southern Iraq spill over the border or, worse, lead to a repeat of previous Iraqi attacks against Kuwait, most recently in 1990.

It is important to take the threats against Kuwait seriously to avoid a repeat of previous mistakes. In 1990, Kuwaiti authorities and others underestimated the danger signs coming from Iraq, leading to disastrous miscalculations, a war costing thousands of lives, and the reshaping of the regional political landscape.

Iraq has a clear choice: Either to become an independent, stable and prosperous nation at peace with its neighbors and free of terrorism and sectarian violence; or to remain at the service of Iranian regional ambitions. Iraq has a long and glorious history and should not be reduced to serving as a pawn for Iran in its confrontation with the US.

• Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. The views expressed in this piece are personal and do not necessarily represent those of the GCC. Email: Twitter: @abuhamad1

According to Obama, Pakistan is not prone to nuclear terrorism

See the source imageIs Pakistan prone to nuclear terrorism?

Sonia Naz

JULY 16, 2018

Nuclear terrorism is a potential threat to the world security. Nuclear security expert Mathew Bunn argues that, “An act of nuclear terrorism would likely put an end to the growth and spread of nuclear energy.”After 9/11, the world came to know that al-Qaeda wanted to acquire nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has observed thousands of incidents of lost, left and unauthorised control of nuclear materials and such materials can go into the wrong hands.

After 9/11, terrorism generated negative perceptions about the nuclear security of Pakistan. The western community often pressurises Pakistan that its nuclear weapons can go into the wrong hands. Nations mostly obtain nuclear weapons for the international prestige, but Pakistan is one of those states which obtained the nuclear capability to defend itself from India which has supremacy in conventional weapons.

Pakistan has taken fool-proof measures to defend its nuclear installations and nuclear materials against any terrorist threats. Pakistan is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) or Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) because India has not signed them. If Pakistan signs these treaties and India does not, it would raise asymmetry between them.

Pakistan’s nuclear non-proliferation policy is based on principles as per the NPT norms, despite not having signed it. Pakistan had also proposed to make South Asia a nuclear-free zone in the 1970s and 80s, but India did not accept the olive branch.

However, Pakistan is a strong supporter of non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security. In this context, it is the signatory of a number of regimes. Pakistan established its Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) on January22, 2001, under the IAEA.

The PNRA works under the IAEA advisory group on nuclear security and is constantly improving and re-evaluating nuclear security architecture. Pakistan has ratified the 2005 amendment to the physical protection convention for the physical security of nuclear materials.

When Obama announced Nuclear Security Summit in 2009, Pakistan welcomed it. It has not only attended all such summits but proved with its multiple nuclear security measures that it is a responsible nuclear state. Pakistan’s nuclear devices are kept unassembled with the permissive action links (PALs) to prevent the unauthorised control and detonation of nuclear weapons. Different US policymakers and Obama have stated that, “We have confidence that the Pakistani military is equipped to prevent extremists from getting access to the nuclear materials.”

The dilemma, however, is that some major powers favour India due to their geopolitical interests, despite India’s low score in nuclear security as compared to Pakistan, as is evident from the reports prepared by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Recently, an IAEA director visited Pakistan and appreciated its efforts in nuclear safety and security. In view of Pakistan’s successful war against terrorism and the strong measures that it has taken to secure its nuclear installations and materials, there should be no doubt left about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear materials

The US has always favoured India for membership of the NSG, ignoring Pakistan’s request to become a member of the same. Despite that, it has taken more steps than India to ensure nuclear safety and security. It is following United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 (which is about the prevention of proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction), and it is the first state which has submitted its report to the UN.

The report explains the measures taken by Pakistan to ensure radiological security and control of sensitive materials and WMDs transfer.

Recently, an IAEA director visited Pakistan and appreciated its efforts in nuclear safety and security. In view of Pakistan’s successful war against terrorism and strong measures that it has taken to secure its nuclear installations and materials, there should be no doubt left about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear materials.

The writer is a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad. She can be contacted at

Published in Daily Times, July 16th 2018.


The Means to an End: Massive Nuclear Proliferation (Revelation 15)

image-433The Risk to the World: Massive Nuclear Proliferation

David Axe

Donald Trump every so often suggests he’d like to pull the United States out of the the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, knowing full well that would be the end of NATO as we’ve known it for almost 70 years. And such hints, the most recent of them last week at a summit in Brussels, must make Vladimir Putin’s crocodile smile spread from ear to ear.

Indeed, going into the Helsinki summit with Trump on Monday, Putin is surely aware that it was not necessary for Trump to pull the U.S. out of NATO in a formal sense for him to harm the alliance — and benefit Russia. Official statements notwithstanding, merely threatening to walk away from the Atlantic Alliance has been deeply destabilizing, and no amount of frantic damage control by Trump underlings is likely to fix that.

“In casting doubt on America’s commitment to defend NATO countries against attack, Trump is forcing these countries to begin preparing to go it alone or realign themselves under a new European-based alliance to provide collective defense without U.S. support,” Bruce Blair, a Princeton University nuclear expert, tells The Daily Beast.

If Trump actually did withdraw, Europe would become right away much more vulnerable to Russian nuclear attack or, more likely, intimidation. But immediate nuclear fire isn’t the only danger.

More realistically, the Americans leaving NATO would force European countries that currently lack nuclear arms to toss aside the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty and rush to acquire them, all in order to deter the Russians without the Americans’ help.

The treaty’s disintegration could then lead to countries all over the world pursuing their own nukes. “Trump is increasing the chances of the bomb spreading and the key treaty keeping the lid on such proliferation collapsing,” says Blair.

Unconstrained nuclearization is one nightmare scenario that is becoming increasingly plausible as Trump escalates his criticism of the 69-year-old North Atlantic alliance. For three quarters of a century, American nukes have made it unnecessary for many European countries to possess nukes of their own.

Because of that, these countries could safely sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, bolstering international efforts to limit nuclearization all over the world. “Among the benefits of NATO, a key one is that it has helped to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Arms Control Association, told The Daily Beast.

But that was long before Trump’s rise as a political force. In 2017, the former reality-T.V. star declared NATO “obsolete.” In Brussels on July 11, Trump again questioned the organization’s usefulness. “What good is NATO?” he asked. The next day at a meeting of NATO leaders, Trump threatened that he might “do his own thing” if alliance members didn’t immediately increase their military spending.

Trump’s words sent a chill through European capitals. The United States is by far the biggest military spender in NATO and, according to Mark Simakovsky, a fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, the “glue” that holds the alliance together. “Don’t forget, there are huge divisions in Europe,” Simakovsky said.

NATO’s 29 member states range from illiberal Turkey, Hungary and Poland on the alliance’s eastern flank to stalwarts France and Germany at the heart of the continent and the restive United Kingdom in the west.

At present just two non-U.S. NATO states – the U.K. and France – possess nuclear weapons. France fields around 300 nukes. The U.K., around 215. By contrast, the United States maintains an arsenal of no fewer than 3,800 atomic warheads, only slightly fewer than Russia possesses. The U.S. military keeps 180 warheads in Europe for use by its own forces and the forces of certain NATO members, most notably Germany.

Practically speaking, America is Europe’s nuclear shield.

Under Article V of the NATO charter, an attack on any NATO state represents an attack on every other state – and the alliance is obligated to respond. That applies to a nuclear strike as well as conventional attack. If Russia nuked, say, Lithuania or Poland, the United States would be obligated to nuke Russia right back.

That mutual nuclear threat has helped to keep the peace in Europe since the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in a test in 1949, the same year as NATO’s founding.

But with France and the U.K. possessing so few atomic warheads compared to Russia, deterrence in Europe could begin to collapse without American nukes. And that risk could drive European countries to create their own, more powerful deterrents – either collectively or individually.

“The loss of U.S. reliability to deter aggression against NATO Europe would prompt France and the U.K. to expand their nuclear capabilities and Germany and other non-nuclear countries to consider building their own nuclear arsenals despite strong public opposition,” Blair said.

Some European officials are already thinking in those terms. In 2017, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, called for Europe to build up a combined nuclear arsenal as powerful as Russia’s own arsenal. Conservative German parliamentarian Roderich Kiesewetter endorsed the idea.

If the United States were to leave NATO, Europe could build its own deterrent under the umbrella of a diminished NATO structure, or opt for a new structure based on the European Union. In the last decade or so, the E.U. has begun to establish a rudimentary military organization, but has deployed troops only rarely – and then mostly in Africa on peacekeeping duties.

The realignment could get complicated. Albania, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Turkey are in NATO, but aren’t in the E.U. Austria, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden are in the E.U., but aren’t in NATO. Ireland, for one, is strictly opposed to nuclear weapons. “There are European Union members with nuclear capabilities, but how those capabilities would be employed outside of a NATO context – it’s never been fleshed out,” Simakovsky said.

For Trump to even threaten to pull back America’s atomic umbrella is dangerous, Simakovsky said. “What it encourages is instability.”

And that instability – and the resulting mistrust between former allies – plays into the hands of Russian president Vladimir Putin. It could even, in the most extreme scenario, tempt Putin to launch his own limited nuclear strike in the context of a wider war in Europe.

In the last decade Russia has invaded two of its European neighbors – Ukraine in 2014 and the Republic of Georgia in 2008. Neither Georgia nor Ukraine is a full member of NATO, although both countries have signalled their desire to join the alliance.

The Eastern European states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – all former Soviet republics – and Poland, formerly a Soviet satellite, are NATO members and view themselves as the main targets of Russia’s aggression. This year, Russia deployed nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania.

The Trump administration criticized the Russian deployment as “destabilizing.” But the greater threat of destabilization comes from the administration itself as it continues to dismantle rhetorically a security structure that has preserved the peace – and deterred nuclear war – in Europe since 1949.

“If Putin somehow decides to cross the nuclear threshold, it won’t be because he thinks we don’t have enough nuclear weapons,” Reif said. “It will be based on a political calculation that he has a greater stake in the conflict and we and our allies won’t be willing to run the risk of escalation.”

The alternative is only less awful. That, in the absence of America’s nuclear guarantee as part of a transatlantic alliance, Europe might build up a large nuclear arsenal of its own and supercharge global atomic proliferation. “Nothing would do more to cause nuclear anarchy than wrecking NATO,” Blair said.