Defense analyst Carl Schuster said: “The Pacific Air Force is demonstrating that it can deploy as many or more fifth-generation aircraft into the theater on short notice than (China) currently has in its entire inventory.”
Normal deployments feature six to 12 of the jets, Schuster said.
America has around 180 F-22s; China has up to 24 fifth-generation fighters.
Former Australian air force officer Peter Layton said: “The US is actively practicing the deployments it will make if there is a major crisis or war.
“The US is taking China very seriously and is developing its force posture and training its forces to be able to quickly move into position.”
The move is part of Operation Pacific Iron 2021.
“Airmen deployed in support of Pacific Iron 2021 will demonstrate Multi-capable Airmen skills and conduct simulated combat flight operations from local airports in Guam and Tinian,” the Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.
They added: “More than 35 aircraft and approximately 800 Airmen from Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command will deploy to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility in July to participate in Operation Pacific Iron 2021.”
Beijing is reportedly considering whether to develop autonomous nuclear weapons systems, the New York Post reports.
Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters last week: “If they were to develop, these kinds of weapons and aerial systems, this has the potential to change the strategic stability environment in a dynamic way.”
China is on course to overtake the US and become the biggest economic powerhouse, Professor Kerry Brown, of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, told The Sun.
“Economically, barring total disaster for China, it will be the largest economy some time in the next decade,” Professor Brown said.
China’s rapid military modernisation has fuelled growing concern among its Asian neighbours and in the West.
The People’s Liberation Army now has the world’s second-largest annual budget after the US armed forces and has been adding sophisticated new aircraft, showcased in a flyover at the start of the centenary ceremony featuring a squadron of China’s J-20 stealth fighters.
The country is enmeshed in a deepening rivalry with the United States for global power status and has seen recent clashes with India along their disputed border.
And China’s ambitions show no sign of dampening.
Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, believes China will “get the upper hand, both economically and militarily, on bilateral terms” in the next decade.
“The US is spending on its military at least three times more than China, but China is spending more and more every year to modernise its military and develop new weapons,” the 56-year-old told The Sun.
“China, under Xi Jinping, has become very different from what it was expected to be ten years ago when the Chinese Communist Party was celebrating its 90th anniversary.
“There is no hope anymore of regular transition of power or some openness in the political system.
“Xi now has total control of the country, party, and military.”
Robert Sutter of George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs warned that Xi is “setting up China for a protracted struggle with the US”.
“In foreign affairs it involves growth of wealth and power, with China unencumbered as it pursues its very self-centered policy goals at the expense of others and of the prevailing world order,” Sutter said.
New data has revealed how the Communist Party ranks swelled by 2.43 million in 2020 – the largest annual gain since Xi became president in 2013 – to 95.15 million members now.
The latest brazen lie is the “rule of law” upheld by US President Joe Biden at the G7 and NATO summits, especially lies about lawlessness surrounding nuclear weapons. During the presidency of the Donald Trump years (2017 to 2020), the power of one person to launch nuclear war was on full display. In 1983, one Soviet individual, Stanislav Petrov, “the man who saved the world,” was in the position to decide against launching. This ability of one person to push or not push the button is a nightmare failure of the rule of law and of governing structures.
There is at this time much more widespread public knowledge, rage, and political action about racism and rampant injustices. However, it is hard to know how much the public knows about nuclear weapons. Laws put in place to control or eliminate these weapons are officially ignored, abrogated, or signed but not ratified or enforced: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Open Skies Treaty (cancelled by Biden), and the Outer Space Treaty. The last remaining arms control agreement, New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), was reprieved by Biden until 2026.
No nuclear-armed or NATO nations have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) that are now in force. The five permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) of the UN Security Council have nuclear weapons, have signed but violate the NPT, and are the only nations with a veto. Meanwhile, Barack Obama committed more than $1-trillion over the next three decades to modernize nuclear weapons, and Biden announced an additional $750-billion. As well, in February, Biden increased spending for the US space force, violating the Outer Space Treaty.
Officials routinely get away with nuclear lies: through plausible deniability, through concealing or minimizing nuclear lethality, by focussing on 5G satellites’ benign civilian uses rather than the satellites’ full spectrum surveillance uses, by conjuring an external existential threat (Iran, Russia, China), psychologically by Trump/Netanyahu-style bullying or G.W. Bush’s disarming boyishness, and by exploiting general fears that any mandatory regulations are undemocratic infringements of freedom.
When the White House Press Corp’s longest-serving member, Helen Thomas, asked newly elected (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Barack Obama whether any Middle East country possessed nuclear weapons, Obama, knowing full well about Israel’s arsenal, said, “I don’t want to speculate.” Was the press corps pretending not to see that Obama was pretending not to see? Or was there a knowing wink acknowledging that transparent lies don’t matter because the old boys’ club does whatever it wants. Clearly, any law can be ignored, twisted or unenforced.
Women win the Nobel Peace Prize for their informed, years’ long work on formulating and negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), but big men hold the “nuclear football,” and drop “Little Boy” (Hiroshima) and “Fat Man” (Nagasaki), and proliferate all they want. Ray Acheson, Director of Reaching Critical Will, who represented the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), just published Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy.
Greater Danger Today
Some people should be obligated to know and to inform. How many elected officials can even locate on an unmarked map the countries they bomb to smithereens, and what do journalists and educators know and disseminate about nuclear weapons? It is my impression that during the Cold War, there was a latent but constant sense of anxiety about nuclear weapons, but today this seems to have evaporated. We hear very little about the potential use of nuclear weapons.
Yet authoritative voices warn of greater danger than during the Cold War. Daniel Ellsberg speaks of the Big Five weapons companies
“pushing the idea of a $1.7-trillion modernization, revitalization, as they say, of a doomsday machine that can destroy not all life on Earth, not even all human life, probably, almost surely, but 90 percent of it, seven billion people, if we exercised our current war plans in a war against Russia… And yet there’s hardly any discussion of this.”
The public needs to know that today’s weapons are much more lethal than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII. Today’s bombs are in the range of 100-kiloton (over six times the force of the Hiroshima bomb) to 500-kilotons. “Scientists have calculated that even a small-scale nuclear war involving one hundred Hiroshima-type nuclear bombs between two countries, such as India and Pakistan, would have a devastating effect on Earth’s climate.” The black smoke would rise into the stratosphere, blocking out sunlight for years, and plunge the planet into temperatures too cold to support agriculture, leading to mass death and possible human extinction. “This limited war would involve only 0.3% of the world’s nuclear explosive power.”2
During the Cold War, one restraint against launching a first strike against the Soviet Union was the realistic fear of a potent retaliatory nuclear strike. The crucial deterrent was Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). However, G.W. Bush’s cancellation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2003 permitted the use of missile defense (offense), a technology for detecting and destroying enemy missiles within one minute of launch, and hence, the US belief that a nuclear war was winnable. In 1977, Donald Rumsfeld outlined strategies for a first strike, and in 2021, these conditions are in operation: precise strategic weapons to destroy enemy land-based missiles, anti-submarine warfare, missile defense, and space warfare to eliminate early warning, communications, and navigation satellites.3
At this time, Israel contributes significantly to obstructing measures aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons. Chomsky, Pappé, and Henry Siegman all provide details about Israel’s successful strategy of covert provocations leading to reactions justifying Israeli retaliation [p. 114].4 It has served Israel’s leaders to represent Iran as an existential threat with a nuclear weapons program and Israel is a prime mover against Iran’s nuclear weapons agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Robert Fisk:
“Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago. Same old story.”
Israel’s recent provocations against Iran include the assassination of General Soleimani, its targeted assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists, the most recent in November 2020, the Natanz cyber attack in April 2021, and possible involvement in both the fire on Iran’slargest naval ship in the Gulf of Oman on June 2, 2021, and the fire on the state-owned oil refinery a few hours later. In an appalling irony, the UN meetings to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East do not include the only Middle East country with nuclear weapons – Israel.
“Lawful” nuclear-armed powers up-the-ante of nuclear confrontation by provoking Iran, Russia, and China. On June 23, Al Jazeera reports, [Iran] a “‘Sabotage attack’ on Iranian nuclear building,” [Russia] suspicion that Britain is firing shots in the Black Sea on the border of Russia, and [China] on June 15, the USS Reagan entered the South China Sea on “routine operations.” In an interview, Russian-born York University professor Sergei Plekhanov commented:
“There is enough evidence that the destroyer’s venture into Russian territorial waters was not an accidental ‘innocent passage’, but rather a planned move, approved at the top level of the British government. Sailing a nuclear-capable destroyer into an adversary state’s territorial waters near that state’s key military base, and doing it in the runup to a massive NATO naval exercise in the Black Sea was an extraordinary and exceedingly dangerous provocation. Provocation is a tool of policy, and every provocation has a political purpose.”
What, and whom, does law rule? Jasmin Zine writes that the “rule of law” is a breeding ground for violence and hypocrisy: in Canada, this “…rhetoric includes the liberal washing of white nationalism that politically camouflages xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist ideologies under the guise of ‘protecting democracy,’ ‘freedom’ and the ‘rule of law’ from what are regarded as illiberal, anti-modern and anti-democratic Muslims.”
This discrepancy between words, actions, and feelings is frightening: the United Nations (UN) was set up in 1945, and its first objective was to “end the scourge of war,” but in 1950, the UN launched the Korean War, a forgotten, hidden war. The US several times considered using nuclear weapons against this largely impoverished civilian population. On the ground, “the documented violence was so extreme, so gratuitous, as to suggest a peculiar pathology” (p. 124). In the north, all cities were “annihilation zones” (p. 150). “Operation Chastise” destroyed dams, creating tidal waves that inundated towns and country, and people were reduced to living in caves.5
What is the rule of law? Because of US pressure, the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction over the supreme crime of starting an illegal war. Astonishingly, only the five original nuclear-armed nations have veto power in the UN. The UN Charter states that international disputes must be settled by peaceful means, and opposing parties must refrain from the threat or use of force. Instead, the means must include negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, and assistance through regional agencies or arrangements. As a last resort, the Security Council decides about the use of armed force, but it can decide on measures not including the use of armed force such as demonstrations, blockades, or interruptions of economic relations. Yet, despite all of these “protections,” countries all over the world have engaged in innumerable wars since 1945.
In the lawless world, humans are abstractions represented as numbers and statistics. Experts quibble about the percentage of people who would die in nuclear war. Meanwhile, our hope today may lie in the fact that oppressed people globally are rising up to challenge the proliferation of nuclear weapons and rebuilding anti-war movements to challenge the militarism. •
Here’s What You Need to Remember: Russian military maneuvers along the Ukrainian border have caused many to recall the 2014 invasion of Crimea, which U.S. military leaders regularly refer to as a “wake-up call” regarding the kind of threat Russia continues to present to America and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Several key areas of concern cited by Western observers and senior U.S. military leaders included the Russian use of drones and electronic warfare. While these threats remain very much on the radar, some of the observations of the 2014 invasion have been somewhat overshadowed by the advent of newer Russian weapons. These include the Su-57 stealth fighter, hypersonic missiles and low-yield nuclear weapons.
While the sheer size of Soviet forces during the Cold War was massive, the combination of size with advanced weaponry and new technology makes for what might be called an even more ominous threat.
During the 1980s, Russia operated thousands of armored vehicles and had access to as many as four million troops, a scenario that presented a decades-long massive threat of a Russian-led invasion into Western Europe. The threat of a Soviet invasion on the European continent inspired large-scale U.S. deployments to Germany, upticks in nuclear weapons production and a series of now-famous American innovations including the Abrams tank, Apache attack helicopter, B-2 bomber and F-15 fighter jets.
Today, Russia’s land forces may be numerically slightly smaller than they were during the Cold War era, yet the technological sophistication of its weapons platforms such as the Su-57 fighter, T-14 Armata tank and S-400 air defenses, not to mention hypersonic missiles and tactical nuclear weapons, present an entirely new and serious threat to the U.S. and NATO.
The Russian military has roughly one million active-duty military personnel and as many as two million reserve forces, according to globalfirepower.com. During the Cold War, the Russian Army had as many as three to four million members, yet Moscow’s current forces are a serious concern today.
The Russian military is listed as having more than 4,000 aircraft and 1,500 helicopters. On the ground, Globalfirepower.com says Russia has 13,000 tanks, 27,000 armored fighting vehicles and nearly 6,000 self-propelled guns for artillery. While the Russian military may not have a conventional force the sheer size of its Cold War force, they have made efforts to both modernize and maintain portions of their mechanized weaponry and platforms. The Russian T-72 tank, for example, has been upgraded numerous times since its initial construction in the 1970s.
Finally, regarding sea power, Globalfirepower.com assesses the Russian Navy as having 600 ships, including one aircraft carrier, 15 destroyers and 63 submarines. The Black Sea is a strategically significant area for Russia in terms of economic and geopolitical considerations as it helps ensure Moscow has access to the Mediterranean.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article was first published in early 2021.
Iraqis see Sadr’s decision as a ploy aimed at distancing himself from popular anger over hospital fires and frequent power outages,
Sadr has become the target of widespread popular ire. The public has come to regard the movement he leads as no different from the rest of the militias that took control of Iraq by force of arms. Like other forces participating in the rule of Iraq, his movement is also seen as mired in corruption.
Sadr sought to hold the government responsible for the health and electricity crises by calling on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to conduct an in-depth investigation into the failure of both sectors and thereafter to announce its results.
However, Iraq watchers say that this approach is no longer credible. Relying on conspiracy theories and placing responsibility on unknown opponents have all become old threadbare tactics that cannot conceal the truth about al-Sadr, his movement and its role in the crisis.
Analysts downplayed Sadr’s threat to withdraw, considering that his failure to run would not prevent his faction from eventually seeking to dominate the upcoming elections despite all the disasters it caused.
Sadr said he would not participate in the elections scheduled for October and that he was withdrawing his support of the government, urging those responsible for the Nasiriyah fire to be held accountable.
The angry reactions to the hospital blaze led to the resignation of Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi, who is affiliated with the Sadrist movement.
An Iraqi parliamentarian, who preferred not to be named, said that Sadr is acting based on the principle that “war is deception” in his dealings with his Shia opponents. The MP added that Sadr is trying through his withdrawal to cover up the crimes of the hospital conflagrations that took place under his faction’s watch.
Talking to The Arab Weekly, the MP did not rule out that Sadr could cancel his decision when he was certain that the matter had been forgotten.
He added, “If that prediction comes true, Sadr will have established a new principle, which is that elections are a hoax.”
Iraqi political analyst Rahim al-Kaabi told The Arab Weekly that “it is not the first time that al-Sadr has hinted at the possibility of withdrawing from the elections and that he did not in any case submit a formal request for withdrawal to the Electoral Commission.
The Sadrist movement has been seeking to win more seats in the upcoming early elections in order to be tasked with the choosing the prime minister in the next session, according to previous statements by Sadr.
According to leaks circulating in the local media, Sadr has been trying to nominate his cousin Jaafar al-Sadr, the current Iraqi ambassador to Britain, for the position of prime minister.
The Sadr-backed “Sairoon” coalition led the last parliamentary elections in 2018, winning 54 out of 329 seats.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled under a new electoral law that reduces the size of districts and eliminates list-based voting in favour of a system structured on individual candidacies.
JERUSALEM, Israel – When summer camp for kids comes to mind you might think of swimming, boating and hiking. Summer camp in the Gaza Strip is more like a military boot camp.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad – both designated terrorist groups – held camps this summer for the youth of Gaza. In videos published by MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Institute – the groups boasted that 70,000 youth from all age groups attended the camps. Islamic Jihad called their camp the “Sword of Jerusalem,” after the name of the recent war with Israel in May.
One teenage boy explained why they came to the camp. “We did not come here to enjoy ourselves, or to play, or anything like that. We came with our souls, our blood, our martyrs, and our wounded to sacrifice ourselves for Palestine and for our people.”
Military trainers and commanders from the Al-Quds military Brigade run the camp. Spokesman Ahmad Al-Rai explained the reason for their camp: “So that in the next phase, Allah willing, these boys will be able to confront the plundering enemy and disfigure its face in the next war.”
Before the camps, a promotional video urged students from primary school, high school and college to participate. In the camp, they practice shooting with AK-47’s, anti-tank weapons and video simulations.
Abu Omas, an Islamic Jihad commander in charge of the training said, “We say to the enemy: ‘These children picked up these weapons, and we trained them how to use them, as well as how to take security measures, so that they follow in the footsteps of their fathers and take up arms, Allah willing.’”
Hamas runs a camp called the “Pioneers of Liberation,” a reference to liberating Jerusalem and destroying the Jewish state. One young boy said why he came: “I chose to spend my vacation in the ‘Pioneers of Liberation’ summer camp in order to continue the path of my father, the martyred commander Walid Shamaleh Abu Bilal, and in order to strengthen our determination and liberate Jerusalem, Allah willing.”
These young men and boys vow to return to Israel and learn anti-Semitism at an early age.
“We asked Hitler why he left some of you alive. He did so in order to show us how wicked you are,” one boy said. “We will come to you from under the ground and hammer fear into your hearts, and above the ground, we will tear your bodies apart with our rockets. Scram into the shelters, you mice, you sons of a Jewish woman!”
Yael Yehoshua, Israel’s MEMRI Director, told CBN News they have been monitoring these summer camps for ten years.
“The videos and images from those camps and reflect the way that Hamas is operating and deepening its control,” said Yehoshua. “In ten or fifteen years from now, the kids will be adults and parents, maybe even officials in Gaza and decision-makers, so we see that the extremism in Gaza will be even worse.”
Yehoshua said that Hamas took over the Gaza Strip by force of arms thirteen years ago, “So since birth, this generation has been raised only on the values of this terrorist movement … This is of course only deepening the crisis forcing any chance for a dignified, peaceful life for the kids and for all the residents of Gaza.” She feels the international community should speak up about these camps.
While these kids are in camp, Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, is visiting nations like Mauritania pledging to continue the war against Israel.
“Let me tell you, my brothers and sisters: the sword of Jerusalem will not be sheathed until the blessed al-Aqsa mosque is liberated,” he said at a reception in his honor during his visit.
Given these summer camps, it seems the battle for Jerusalem is being passed onto to the next generation.
The Israeli army on Thursday arrested dozens of Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank, accusing them of being “operatives” of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.
Palestinian sources told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that dozens of students from Birzeit University were arrested as they were returning by bus from the village of Turmus Ayya where earlier this month Israeli troops demolished the family home of a Palestinian American awaiting trial on charges of shooting a Jewish student in the West Bank earlier this year.
An Israeli army statement said, “Some of the apprehended terror operatives were directly involved in terror activities, including money transfers, incitement and the organization of Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria,” using the Biblical terms for the West Bank.
A late Wednesday statement announcing the arrests said “dozens of terror operatives” belonging to “a student cell” at Birzeit University had been detained in a joint operation involving the army, police and the Shin Bet domestic security agency.
An army spokesperson told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Thursday that the Shin Bet had taken over the investigation.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, the number of students arrested Wednesday was around 45, but 12 have since been released and the 33 still in detention were all male.
It charged that Israel had carried out “systematic arrests” of Palestinian students that had “obstructed the education of hundreds of students.”
Birzeit University in a statement voiced concern over the fate of its students and condemned the arrests as a breach of international law.
“The university calls on the international community to intervene immediately to secure their release,” it said.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The United States Geological Survey is reporting that a 2.8 magnitude earthquake hit Massena, N.Y., this week, and it is one of many recent earthquakes in the state, according to a recent report.
The Times Union reported that this most recent earthquake struck on Wednesday, July 14, at a depth of about three miles and contained the greatest magnitude of any since November. However, earthquakes are still being reported at a constant rate statewide, and are a “constant” in New York, according to the media outlet.
The Massena earthquake took place at 11:35 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, at a depth of about three miles. Initial reports showed no initial damage or injuries due to the quake.
Statewide, between 1737 and 2016, New York has been rattled by 551 earthquakes, according to the Times Union.
Election officials rejected the withdrawal, saying the deadline had passed, but Sadr, a kingmaker in Iraq’s political system, also withdrew support for “current and future governments” in a televised speech.
Although Sadrists control the lion’s share of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government, they have never directly taken ministerial posts, according to Reuters.
It is not clear how the withdrawal of arguably the most powerful player in Iraqi electoral politics will affect the vote; on Thursday night officials insisted the election is still scheduled for Oct. 10, 2021.
Kadhimi on Thursday said that it is “unimaginable” that the Sadrists would not be part of the election, saying the movement is one of the critical segments of Iraqi society.