Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for 1755 massachusetts earthquake

It happened before, and it could happen again.

By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM

The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.

According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.

The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.

A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:

“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”

The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.

The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.

The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.

“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”

The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.

“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.

The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.

There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.

According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.

“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,

that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,

the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;

O turn to God; lest by his Rod,

he cast thee down to Hell.”

Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”

There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.

Well, sort of.

In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”

It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.

In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”

If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Feds Again Reject Concerns About the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)


© Copyright Gannett 2020

Following a February inspector general’s report issued critical of the NRC, the commission agreed to revisit its 2014 finding that an expansion of the Algonquin Incremental Market Pipeline would not pose a safety risk to the Buchanan plant.

The NRC’s latest analysis, conducted by a team of experts inside and outside the agency, came to a similar conclusion, but criticized the NRC and Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, for their “optimistic assumptions” in assessing the potential for a gas line rupture.

“A rupture of the newly installed 42-inch natural gas transmission pipeline that runs near Indian Point is unlikely,” last week’s report found. “This pipeline was installed using modern techniques, stringent quality standards, and construction precautions that limit the likelihood of later pipeline damage.”

“I’m am not at all surprised that the NRC continues to ignore the safety risks generated by their own failures,” said Courtney Williams of Peekskill, who leads a group opposed to the expansion. “This is par for the course. They routinely ignore anything that does not maintain the status quo allowing plant owners to do as they please.”

She added: “It doesn’t take an engineer to know that having multiple, high-pressure gas pipelines criss-crossing the nuclear power plant is unsafe.”

The pipeline courses north from Pennsylvania and covers seven miles in Rockland County, before crossing the Hudson River into Westchester Countyjust south of Indian Point before heading into New England. It is operated by Enbridge Energy Partners.

In recent years, the project has become a flash point for natural gas opponents. In 2016, several clean energy advocates were arrested in Verplanck after locking themselves inside a section of pipeline being readied to cross under the Hudson River.

A protest of the Algonquin pipeline expansion project that was held in June in Peekskill. SUBMITTED/ERIK MCGREGOR

Rep. Nita Lowey said she was pleased the latest analysis found the pipeline not to be a threat to the communities around Indian Point, but voiced concerns with how the 2014 report was done.

“This report cannot be the end of the story,” Lowey said. “The NRC must implement the recommendations outlined in the report and, if necessary, take regulatory action to ensure that Entergy does the same. I am particularly concerned that federal agencies such as the NRC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission need to work much more closely on important safety and health issues regarding nuclear reactors and natural gas pipelines.”

The NRC will hold a public hearing on the matter after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Among the concerns highlighted by the inspector general’s report was that the NRC failed to confirm Entergy’s claim that if there was a rupture, pipeline operators would be able to shut down gas flow in three minutes.

“OIG contacted the pipeline operator who estimated it would take at least 6 minutes after detection of a leak to close the valves,” the inspector general wrote.

The latest report by the NRC said Entergy should re-do its own analysis, which the NRC relied on in its 2014 decision.

“Entergy should be asked to revisit the assumptions it made regarding the consequences of a postulated rupture of the 42-inch pipeline,” the report notes.

And it said the NRC will need to improve its own technical reviews and inspections.

Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said the plant’s safety systems are located a safe distance from the pipeline and are protected by “robust concrete structures.”

“Per the NRC’s request, Entergy will review the assumptions that were provided by the pipeline owner,” Nappi said. “We are confident that a review of all information will again conclude that the plant would be safely protected in the unlikely event of a pipeline failure.”

The plant will shut down in 2021. One of its two reactors, Unit 2, will power down on April 30.

Entergy has a deal pending to sell the plant to Holtec International after the shutdown. That deal is awaiting the approval of the NRC.

On Tuesday, the NRC will hold a webinar to discuss the details of how the plant will be decommissioned after the shutdown

Pakistan plans for a proxy war with India (Revelation 8 )

India-Pakistan war threat: Leaked document reveals Islamabad’s plans to launch ‘proxy war’

PAKISTAN is planning to wage a “proxy war” against its nuclear arch-rival India in response to last year’s airstrikes on terror camps in Balakot and Narendra Modi’s crackdown in disputed Kashmir, according to a leaked document.


PUBLISHED: 22:24, Mon, May 4, 2020

UPDATED: 22:42, Mon, May 4, 2020

The Green Book 2020, published by the general headquarters of the Pakistan Army, reveals proposals to ramp up psychological warfare, propagate home-grown native terrorism in Kashmir and use anti-Indian propaganda material more effectively. The 200-page book is a confidential internal publication of the Pakistan Army which outlines its geopolitical understanding, vision and strategies.

A leaked copy reveals Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has written the Balakot strike on February 26, 2019, and the ending of Kashmir and Jammu’s special status on August 5 will have “lasting imprint on the geopolitics” of the region.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has for decades been a hotbed of hostility between the two sides, each of whom claims the territory in full but rules in part.

Gen Bajwa described the Balakot strike as a “coercive attempt to carve out space for war under nuclear overhang and enforce compliance.”

He said Mr Modi’s stance on Kashmir had “raised the stakes for the entire world”.

The Green Book suggests reviving a “local uprising” in Indian Kashmir to make it difficult for “India to keep selling the terrorism card” in the strife-torn state.

It says: “Only a native uprising will be just and politically defendable for Pakistan on international forums.

“Even such an uprising will need support in the information domain.”

The book contains recommendations to take Pakistan’s proxy war against India into the “non-kinetic domain” like information or cyber or electronic warfare.

The Pakistan Army has been advised to run propaganda using video clips and pictures about “brutalities of Indian oppressive forces” in Kashmir to alter the perception about India, which it has “built so painstakingly over the years”.

It also suggests bringing the US onside by warning Washington that Pakistan will shift its forces from its western borders, which can adversely affect peace in Afghanistan, if India continues its Kashmir policy.

The book repeatedly drives home the importance of China as a reliable strategic ally and quotes Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying: “No matter how things change in the world and the region, China will firmly support Pakistan in upholding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and dignity.”

Contributor Professor Tughral Yamin wrote that as long as Kashmir was unresolved, “there will be plenty of triggers to cause another crisis for India in the future”.

Another writer advised that “Indian masses and liberal intellectuals” should be the recipients of Pakistan’s information dissemination campaign on Kashmir.

Violence continues to erupt on an almost daily basis in the disputed Himalayan region.

Three Indian soldiers were killed in a gunbattle with militants today, less than 24 hours after a similar incident in which five were killed.

Junaid Khan, a senior paramilitary force officer, said the militants attacked the men from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in North Kashmir.

He said: “Three CRPF men were killed. Two died on the spot and one on way to hospital, and another is critically injured.”

Five Indian soldiers, including a high-ranking army officer, were killed yesterday in a forest area of North Kashmir during an operation against a group of militants, two of whom were later killed.

Over the last month, New Delhi has launched a major offensive against the militants, killing 22 of them since the region was locked down to prevent the spread coronavirus.

According to official data, 20 Indian soldiers have been killed during the same period.

The German Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Members of Germany’s ruling coalition tell Trump to take U.S. nukes home

Berlin’s center left is reopening an old debate about whether to remain under Washington’s protective nuclear umbrella.

The pact has been a pillar of NATO’s nuclear deterrence strategy for decades. While Washington has similar agreements with other NATO members, the arrangement has proved to be particularly controversial in Germany, even as the U.S. has dramatically pared down its stockpile of nuclear warheads in the country.

What appears to have triggered Mützenich’s demand was an announcement two weeks ago by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer that she supported purchasing U.S.-made F-18 aircraft to replace the Tornados in order to ensure that Germany could continue to meet its alliance obligations.

Germany would require dozens of the aircraft, which would cost billions. Many in the SPD oppose increasing the defense budget to 2 percent of GDP — the spending goal Germany and other NATO members agreed to years ago in an effort to place less of a financial burden on the U.S.

Germany, despite recent progress, remains far away from the spending target, a failure U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly used to cast the country as a freeloader.

The vast majority of Germans don’t trust Trump, however. Mützenich cited the perceived unreliability of the U.S. president as a central reason why Germany should insist on an American nuclear withdrawal. The original justification for the nuclear-sharing arrangement was that it would give Germany at least some influence over the weapons’ use, a hope that is no longer realistic, he said.

“Does anyone really think that if Donald Trump were planning a nuclear assault that he would be held back by Germany just because we’re transporting a few warheads?” he asked.

Though a U.S. withdrawal appears unlikely in the short term, it’s not unrealistic. The U.S. could easily find another home for the weapons, be it in Poland or on the territory of another NATO ally. That said, such a redeployment could have serious consequences for Europe’s security. Russia would view any deployment of the weapons in Eastern Europe as a provocation and look for ways to retaliate, an outcome that could destabilize the whole region.

More generally, the move could backfire on Germany if it is viewed as an unreliable ally. Many in the Trump administration already regard it as such. Given his past criticism of Germany, Trump might see the SPD’s latest demand as further evidence that Germany can’t be trusted and make good on threats to relocate U.S. forces stationed in the country. Given the budgetary demands the U.S. faces to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the president may not need much convincing to reduce the U.S. presence in Germany.

Such a move would inevitably renew fears elsewhere in Europe of NATO’s collapse.

Put another way, the SPD should be careful what it wishes for.

The Rising China Nuclear Horn

The US has seen massive deaths in the coronavirus pandemic that has originated in China (Getty Images)

China may have stealth bomber Xian H-20 ready by late 2020, will put US bases in Pacific under strike range

Tensions between China and the US and its allies have worsened over the past one month in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic from Wuhan. The West has increasingly accused Beijing of covering up the pandemic even when it knew the danger it posed. The common belief that the pandemic started off from a wet market in Wuhan has also been challenged now with the theory that it got leaked from a lab in the same city has gained traction.

Besides the US, countries like Japan and Australia have also witnessed their relations with China plummeting.

China’s strategic competition with the US has also intensified as with the US Navy getting heavily hit by the coronavirus, the Asian power has increased its naval presence in its surroundings, raising concern in Japan and Taiwan.

Chinese jet can hit American bases in various countries

The defense department has predicted that the H-20, the last in China’s 20 series of new generation fighter planes, would have an estimated cruising distance of over 5,300 miles. China’s state TV sources predicted that the H-20 could transform the strategic equations between the US and China by doubling the range of its current H-6K, called its own B-52. The Chinese jet has reportedly been made to hit targets beyond the second island ring that includes American bases in Guam, Japan, Philippines and other countries.

“If the H-20 does have the range and passable stealth characteristics attributed to it, it could alter the strategic calculus between the United States and China by exposing U.S. bases and fleets across the Pacific to surprise air attacks,” National Interest reported.

The third island chain goes till Hawaii and coastal Australia. The plane will carry nuclear and conventional missiles with a maximum take-off weight of at least 200 tonnes and a payload measuring up to 45 tonnes.

The Post cited some military experts who felt the US Air Force would not care much about the new Chinese jet because it is not powerful enough to challenge their B-2 and B-21 bombers. Some feel the H-20 might feature the NK-321 Russian engine while others think the H-20 would be fitted with the upgraded WS-10 engine. They said the WS-10 is still a transitional engine for the H-20 because it is not too powerful.

The Post also cited a military source as saying that if the US deployed more F-35 supersonic fighter jets, it would see China unveil its bomber even faster.

Meanwhile, while the Trump administration continued to blame China for not having acted adequately against the coronavirus outbreak, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times hit out at Trump in an editorial, accusing him of ‘publicly lying about China’.

Why The China Nuclear Horn Will Not Make A Deal

China Has No Reason to Make a Deal on Nuclear Weapons | Asharq AL-awsat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has informed his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that any future agreement on nuclear-arms control between the US and Russia must also include China. This shift to trilateral negotiations is part of the Trump administration’s effort to remake great-power arms control for a new era.

It’s a reasonable approach, which accurately holds that the old bilateral formula has become disconnected from reality. Whether the US can build the leverage necessary to make this new approach succeed — particularly vis-à-vis China — is far less certain.

The Donald Trump administration, in pursuing this strategy, is breaking with two prior arms control paradigms. The Cold War model focused on stabilizing the competition between Moscow and Washington by capping the size of their nuclear arsenals and limiting their pursuit of the most destabilizing systems. The post-Cold War approach focused on cleaning up the strategic residue of the superpower conflict — namely, by reducing US and Russian arsenals.

The most recent such agreement was New Start, signed in 2010. That pact trimmed the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to roughly 1,550 on either side; it limited the US and Russia alike to 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear-capable heavy bombers.

Over time, however, two developments degraded the strategic value of the second paradigm. First, the Russians stopped honoring key agreements, while also carrying out a major nuclear-modernization program. In 2018, the Department of Defense reported that Moscow was violating several nuclear and conventional arms control pacts.

Most important was the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1988, which Russia broke by developing and deploying ground-launched missiles of a prohibited range. This left the US as the only country in the world that was effectively constrained from building ground-launched missiles — conventional or nuclear-tipped — with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. After the Barack Obama administration spent several years trying to bring Moscow back into compliance, the Trump administration withdrew from the treaty last year.

Second, the old approach ignored the rise of China. Since Beijing was not a party to the INF Treaty, it was free to assemble a fearsome arsenal of intermediate-range missiles to target US bases, ships and allies in the Western Pacific. Washington, as part of the agreement with Russia, was unable to respond by deploying such missiles of its own. As the US reduced its nuclear inventory, moreover, China began to build up its comparatively modest arsenal.

In 2019, the head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency observed that Beijing “is likely to at least double the size of its nuclear stockpile” over the next decade. The US increasingly found that existing control agreements did not correspond to a changing strategic situation — and even weakened its position vis-à-vis Beijing.

Pompeo’s recent remarks hint at the administration’s response to this problem. By withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the administration has sought to free the US from agreements that inhibit its ability to compete with Russia or China. By signaling that it expects future agreements to be trilateral, the administration is serving notice that it will no longer give China a free pass.

And by recommitting to a major nuclear modernization program that dates back to the Obama administration — while also pursuing innovations such as lower-yield nuclear weapons meant to strengthen the credibility of the American deterrent — the administration is trying to build the pressure that might allow for more advantageous arms control deals in the future. Before the US can build down, in other words, it will have to build up.

There is some sound strategic logic here. It makes little sense to forever gear the US arms control agenda to the challenge posed by Russia when China is now the primary competitor. Although both Russia and China are improving their nuclear arsenals, neither presumably wants a prolonged strategic competition with an unconstrained, economically superior US.

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty was not as damaging to the unity of NATO as some observers feared at the time; there are early signs that US allies in the Asia-Pacific might eventually be willing to host INF-range missiles (probably conventional rather than nuclear). Most important, the Trump administration’s approach reflects an understanding of the paradoxical logic of arms control — that intensifying an arms race is often a precondition to de-escalating it on favorable terms.

Nonetheless, the administration faces some real challenges. For one, China currently has little reason to enter a trilateral agreement on either intercontinental or intermediate-range systems, precisely because it enjoys many of the benefits of arms control with few of the liabilities.

The US could, over time, give China a reason to cooperate, by showing that its position will worsen as America deploys INF-range systems in the Asia-Pacific and modernizes its own arsenal. Unfortunately, the US modernization program has been delayed repeatedly, and its future seems uncertain given the potential for COVID-19 to devastate the defense budget as it has devastated the economy. If Trump or a future Democratic president comes to see the US arsenal as a source of budgetary savings, America may end up lacking the leverage needed to force its competitors to the table.

Second, a trilateral framework brings dangers as well as advantages. That format might allow Washington to subtly drive a wedge between Russia and China, by reminding Moscow that the nuclear domain is virtually the only area in which it is still superior to Beijing. Yet that format might also create opportunities for two US rivals to gang up on Washington in the negotiations, a ploy Russia and Iran seem to have run in the talks leading to the 2015 agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. One way or another, managing three-way negotiations will require intricate, disciplined diplomacy, a task to which Trump isn’t well-suited.

A third challenge relates to the nearer-term decision on whether to extend the expiring New Start with Russia for another five years, until 2026. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is willing to do so; the Trump administration has so far refused to commit. The calculation may be that holding out increases US diplomatic leverage over Moscow, while allowing US to establish the principle that future negotiations must shift to a three-way format with China.

Yet it isn’t entirely clear who would benefit if the treaty actually lapses. In theory, both sides would then be free to build beyond New Start’s limits. In practice, both sides would face constraints.

Russia has a head start, in the sense that its missile production lines are already hot. But Moscow is also experiencing a severe cash crunch from collapsing oil prices in addition to pre-existing economic stagnation: These trends will hamper its modernization or force sharp trade-offs against other priorities sooner or later.

The US has far greater economic capacity, but its modernization program will not gather real momentum until well into the 2020s or even the 2030s, assuming it isn’t set back further by post-coronavirus fiscal austerity. Over the long term, an intensified arms race surely favors the US In the near term, the outlook is murkier.

The Trump administration is right to start looking beyond old arms-control frameworks of diminishing strategic value to the US Moving from those frameworks to something better will be the big challenge for Trump and, one suspects, his successors.


Iran using plague to revive image, escalate tensions

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, August 13, 2018. (Reuters)

Iran using virus crisis to revive image, escalate tensions

The hard-liners of Iran — primarily the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — are using the cover of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis to refurbish their image domestically by escalating tensions in the region against the US and its allies, and accelerating plans to settle islands the country unlawfully occupies in the Gulf. This worrying behavior should preclude the lifting of the UN’s conventional arms embargo in October.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani in early January and the IRGC’s inability to respond in kind shook the image of invincibility Iran’s leaders wanted to project. A week later, the IRGC shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 passengers and crew, causing an international uproar and further weakening that image, especially with its feeble attempt to cover it up. Internally, many Iranians also vehemently protested, as most of the passengers were Iranian or of Iranian origin. Those two events further tarnished the Guards’ image, which was already bloodied by their November 2019 crackdown on civilian protests throughout Iran, when they killed hundreds of unarmed protesters.

In February, the IRGC was able to engineer parliamentary elections, eliminating the little opposition that existed in the old Majlis. The hard-liners won 221 seats to the reformists’ 20, ensuring a rubber-stamp assembly. Having secured a commanding majority in parliament, the hard-liners are not much worried about the second round of parliamentary elections in September. However, they are training their eyes on next year’s presidential election to ensure a hard-liner victory. Equally important, they are gearing up for the battle of succession to the frail Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — an event that could happen at any time because of incapacitation or death.

The coronavirus was detected in Iran during the elections process and its mishandling of the epidemic was another blow to the regime. However, the IRGC quickly turned it into a political opportunity to refurbish its image and weaken the civilian administration.

First, the devastating crisis was blamed on President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, which in turn blamed the US sanctions. Second, the IRGC hyped its own efforts to help contain the disease. It competed with the civilian government in handing out assistance to families affected by the disease and showcased the work of some of its proxies around the region in fighting COVID-19.

Third, the IRGC escalated its activities around the region in another attempt to make up for its earlier failures. In mid-April, the US revealed that armed IRGC Navy vessels had been harassing US ships. President Donald Trump threatened severe consequences if such actions were repeated, but the IRGC, Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif mocked Trump’s threats in unison, basically daring him to take action. Last Wednesday, Iran’s military spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi also threatened a harsh response to any American action, saying: “The Americans have certainly experienced that if they make the slightest move and aggression against the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters and our people’s interests, they will be slapped in the face stronger than the past because we do not joke with anyone in defending our country.”

The hard-liners have also upped the ante vis-a-vis Iran’s neighbors in the Gulf. Last Thursday, IRGC Navy commander Adm. Alireza Tangsiri revived claims about “ownership” of the Gulf, even alluding to claims about Bahrain and Kuwait, thus casting aside previous public statements about the need for reconciliation in the region. Tangsiri said that Khamenei was especially keen on the Persian nature of the Gulf and, for this reason, he had ordered that islands there should be settled with Iranians, including the three UAE islands occupied by Iran since 1971. He admitted that Iran had already built airports on Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. He revealed Iran’s intention to develop infrastructure on the islands to facilitate civilian settlement.

The IRGC escalated its activities around the region in another attempt to make up for its earlier failures.

Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg

Defiant bluster is apparently popular among the regime’s faithful in Iran. Equally popular are outdated nationalistic claims that are difficult to fathom from the outside. Iran is a mosaic of nations and it is therefore incomprehensible that claims of Persian superiority or dominance can be acceptable within Iran. It is especially surprising when heard from high officials who should know better. Such chauvinistic discourse is, of course, rejected by Iran’s neighbors and their partners in the Gulf, who also reject Iran’s malign activities, which rely on creating violent sectarian strife as a ploy to destabilize the region.

The hard-liners’ dangerous demagoguery, whether nationalistic or religious, should also be opposed by the international community. It has been used to justify the IRGC’s reign of terror within Iran and abroad, and now to provoke another confrontation with the US and its allies.

Iran’s record over the past five years, since the signing of the nuclear deal in July 2015, shows an unrepentant regime with no serious interest in peace; perfunctory statements about reconciliation notwithstanding. It would be dangerous, therefore, to reward it in October by lifting the conventional arms embargo included in UN Security Council resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal. Lifting the embargo was contemplated in the hope that the nuclear deal would lead to a softening of Iran’s regional policy — a hope that never became reality.

• Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the Gulf Cooperation Council’s 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. Twitter: @abuhamad1

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view