New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

      How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters
New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.
The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.
The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.
Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?
Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”
And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)
Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.
Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.
The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)
One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”
Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.
And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.
So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?
“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”
Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

Hell On Earth is Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

If There Is A Hell On Earth, It Is In Gaza Today

If There Is A Hell On Earth, It Is In Gaza Today

23rd October 2021  Opinion

By Tendai Makaripe

ADDRESSING the UN General Assembly in May this year, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres remarked: “If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today.”

The statement was made at the height of the air and artillery bombardment by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza were about 208 Palestinians, including 65 children were killed.

The 11-day onslaught on Gaza, another episode in the unending conflict between Israel and Palestine was described as one of the heaviest Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave ever.

Under international humanitarian law, non-combatant civilians like children are guaranteed humane treatment and covered by the legal provisions on the conduct of hostilities.

Given the vulnerability of children, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 lay down a series of rules according to them special protection.

The Additional Protocols, the 1989 Convention on the rights of the child, and its recent Optional Protocol also set limits on children’s participation in hostilities.

Unfortunately, these rights under international law are being disregarded, in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict leaving children to bear the full brunt of the conflict.

They have been victims of indoctrination, school closures, medical problems, and post-traumatic stress because of the conflict.

While both countries have been accused of violating international humanitarian law by recruiting child soldiers, Israel has been apportioned much of the blame.

Palestinian writer Anton Shammas notes that since the Six-Day War (5 to 10 June 1967), when the West Bank and the Gaza Strip fell under Israeli military occupation, the idea of ‘childhood’ was abolished and dropped from Israeli military declarations, so that if a 10-year-old happened to be shot, he was referred to as “a young man of ten.”

According to the 2004 Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 focusing on occupied Palestinian territories: “Israeli occupying forces allegedly used torture and other forms of coercion to recruit Palestinian children as informants.

“In the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel, the Israeli forces detained Palestinian children under military provisions that failed to meet international standards for the treatment of prisoners and for juvenile justice.”

The Israeli intelligence services (Shabak) has for a long time been accused of seeking to recruit children as informants.

A field survey with former child detainees conducted by Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-PS), estimated that 60 percent of the children interviewed, some of them are as young as 12, were reported to have been tortured or subjected to other forms of coercion or inducement to make them cooperate.

UN Special Rapporteur and South African professor of international law John Dugard notes that in the early years of the Palestinian uprising against Israel between 2000 and 2002, children who were not participating in demonstrations were killed by tank shelling, artillery fire, and helicopter gunships.

Organisations like UNICEF, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and individuals such as the British writer Derek Summerfield, have called upon Israel to protect children from violence in accordance with the Geneva conventions.

The European Union linked the 2004 suspension of Israel/Europe trade agreement talks to human rights issues, especially in regard to children.

Unfortunately, this has not deterred the country from violating children’s rights.

It is high time that international law develops teeth to bite aggressors against children’s rights.

Their rights should be seen to be respected and not only preached on political podiums.

Children in Palestine and Israel, like every other child, have an inherent right to education as provided for by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

They should not be targets of conflict and the Geneva Convention should be used to hold to account those violating its provisions.

The law of force, particularly jus in bello has two principles that should be religiously respected to save children in conflict areas which are discrimination and proportionality.

Discrimination deals with the legitimate targets in war while proportionality entails how much force is morally appropriate.

The reality of the matter is that the two principles are being violated but little if anything is being done to salvage the situation, especially the fate of Palestinian children.

In a 2016 Children and Armed Conflict Report developed by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict Leila Zerrougui: “States must ensure their engagement in hostilities and responses to all threats to peace and security, including in efforts to counter violent extremism, are conducted in full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. It is unacceptable that failure to do so has resulted in numerous violations of children’s rights.”

Babylon the Great fails in the latest nuclear race

Latest US military hypersonic test fails

October 21, 2021

By Oren Liebermann, CNN

The US suffered a setback in the race with China and Russia to develop hypersonic weapons when its latest test failed, the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.

A booster stack, which is the rocket used to accelerate the projectile to hypersonic speeds, failed and the test of the projectile, the hypersonic glide body, could not proceed, the statement said.

Because the rocket failed the Pentagon was not able to test the hypersonic glide body, which is the key component needed to develop a hypersonic weapon.

Officials have started a review of the test, which took place Thursday at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, to understand the cause of the booster failure.

“Experiments and tests — both successful and unsuccessful — are the backbone of developing highly complex, critical technologies at tremendous speed, as the department is doing with hypersonic technologies,” said Lt. Cdr. Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesman, in a statement.

The Pentagon has made developing hypersonic weapons one of its top priorities, particularly as China and Russia are working to develop their own versions. The failure is another blow to the US effort following a failed test in April and comes days after it was reported that China had successfully tested a hypersonic glide vehicle.

Traveling at Mach 5 or faster, hypersonic weapons are difficult to detect, posing a challenge to missile defense systems. Hypersonic missiles can travel at a far lower trajectory than high-arcing ballistic missiles, which can be easily detectable. Hypersonics can also maneuver and evade missile defense systems.

Reports of successful Chinese and Russian test

Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that China had successfully tested a hypersonic glide vehicle capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. They reported the glide vehicle was launched from an orbital bombardment system. Though China denied the report, saying on Monday that the test was instead a “routine spacecraft experiment.

Defense officials say they are particulary concerned about China developing hypersonic capabilities because they could enable Beijing to launch an attack over the South Pole, evading US missile defenses, which are generally geared toward missiles coming over the North Pole.

Two weeks ago, Russia claimed to have successfully tested a submarine-launched hypersonic missile for the first time, dubbed the Tsirkon. Earlier this summer, Russia said it had fired the same missile from a warship.

Nevertheless, the Pentagon insists it remains on track to deliver offensive hypersonic weapons in the early 2020s, a timeline that seems more urgent with the advances in hypersonic technology shown off by the Russians and Chinese.

“This flight test is part of an ongoing series of flight tests as we continue to develop this technology,” Gorman said.

The failed test of a hypersonic glide body occurred after the Navy and Army earlier this week conducted a series of successful hypersonic measurement tests highlighting the Pentagon’s priority of rapidly researching and testing the weapon system. The three joint sounding tests were designed to collect data and carry out hypersonic experiments from DoD partners involved in developing the advanced weapons.

“These launches allow for frequent and regular flight testing opportunities to support rapid maturation of offensive and defensive hypersonic technologies,” the Navy said in a statement about the trials.

Those tests, carried out at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, provide data for the development of the services’ hypersonic weapons, including the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon.

The US is focusing on conventional hypersonic weapons that are based on ships, land and air platforms.

In April, the Air Force’s hypersonic missile program suffered a setback when it failed to launch from a B-52. Instead, the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) remained on the aircraft.

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The Antichrist: Iraq’s kingmaker in uncertain times

Muqtada al-Sadr: Iraq’s kingmaker in uncertain times

Al-Sadr’s party controls 70 of a total 329 parliamentary seats in Iraq and the movement has a large base across country.

Muqtada al-Sadr remains one of Iraq’s most influential political figures and plays a pivotal role when it comes to the country’s future. He is currently considered the kingmaker, but it remains unclear if he can form a government with stability.

In the latest elections, al-Sadr’s party obtained 70 of a total of 329 parliamentary seats – a significant increase compared with the result of 2018, when his movement won 54 seats.

Despite this election result, al-Sadr did not run as a candidate for Iraq’s prime ministership.

The reason is relatively simple and founded in al-Sadr’s political strategy, Ruba Ali Al-Hassani, postdoctoral researcher at Lancaster University & Project SEPAD, told Al Jazeera.

Sadr’s strategy to maintain followership is his claim to be a reformer. Using this claim, he has supported the Tishreen/October Movement for months until Iran called on him to withdraw this support,” said Al-Hassani.

“His flip-flopping on this particular matter may have cost him some followers, but for the most part, his followership is blindly loyal and truly believes in his image as a reformer. On this basis, I can see Sadr avoiding the premiership to maintain his claim to reform. His party also is strategic in its alliances. In the 2018 election, it allied with the Communist Party of Iraq to maintain this reform title.”

“This is all ironic, considering that he has had Sadrists in previous cabinets holding ministries such as the very deteriorating Ministry of Health while claiming to bring about reform,” Al-Hassani added.

The questions around his persona have not had a significant impact on his popularity, however.

“By falsely claiming to boycott the election in the late summer, he won leverage because all the politicians who would seek legitimacy in the election needed him to participate. This was a smart move, so when Sadr did officially ‘rejoin’ the elections, we learned that he never really intended to boycott, as his party had been mobilising in the meantime with a mobile app, voter card registration, etc,” said Al-Hassani.

While al-Sadr’s parties obtained the most seats and thus the ability to form the next government, he still faces complex encumbrances, particularly ideological ones, Al-Hassani noted.

“With some Iran-backed parties like Fatah, threatening violence unless they get the vote recount which they demand, government-formation will be a challenge. Sadr, with his own militia, Saraya al-Salam, can fight Iran-backed units of the PMF but would rather not. Instead, he has been calling for calm.”

‘Taking sole responsibility’

In terms of what the government will most likely look like, Al-Hassani considered one scenario in particular to be the most conceivable.

“Sadr will most likely need to enter into an agreement with Fatah and its partners, albeit reluctantly. With that said, there is a greater chance in him forming an alliance with [Nouri] Maliki, his former foe.”

“Whatever happens next in Iraq will need Sadr’s approval as in the past,” she added.

However, any coalition al-Sadr may or may not be able to form is likely to have an adverse effect on his own party, Sajad Jiyad, a fellow at Century International and director of the Shia Politics Working Group, told Al Jazeera.

“Sadr claims that the next government will be a Sadrist one and the prime minister a staunch Sadrist and it may become a reality, but other partners will be needed to form a government and the risk of taking sole responsibility for government failures may mean that he accepts a coalition that reduces the Sadrist identity of the government,” he said.

‘Significant base’

Al-Sadr is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, a Shia dignitary who was politically active against the former leader Saddam Hussein, which he paid with his life in 1999.

“The Sadrist base is significant in Baghdad and the southern provinces because it represents a Shia underclass that struggled during the previous government but viewed Muhammad al-Sadr as a religious authority who cared for them and preached to them when no one else dared to. This base continues to feel marginalised today, and al-Sadr appeals to them as the heir to his father’s position, but also as they feel he is their voice against all other political and religious factions,” said Jiyad.

In addition, al-Sadr is also deeply woven into the power structure of the Iraqi state. His confidants sit in government offices, act as vice ministers and in managerial positions.

After the US toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, al-Sadr and his supporters opposed the intervention force. His supporters inflicted painful losses on US troops. As a result, al-Sadr became one of the most wanted men in Iraq.

In recent times he has also increasingly turned against Iran’s influence. “He does attempt to deviate from Iran’s goals in Iraq, yet is influenced by Iran from time to time,” Al-Hassani noted.

Hence, al-Sadr does not seem to have a clear strategy towards Iran in the future.

“We can expect Sadr to flip flop on some issues and to distance himself from Iran while still maintaining some ties with it. His leverage is in his unpredictability, and that can be a psychological weapon against his political counterparts. Of course, Iran will find a way to influence the government formation process to ensure that parties like Fatah maintain their power,” said Al-Hassini.

Religious influences have also played a role in al-Sadr’s popularity. While Shia, he has by no means excluded Sunni and continues to advocate a non-denominational position.

“Unlike Fatah and other parties, Sadr does not rely on sectarian rhetoric in his campaigning. Instead, he runs on a populist note to gain more support. He is willing to join forces in cross-denominational alliances, and this gives his positionality greater power,” Al-Hassani said.

With that being said, political parties in Iraq remain mostly denominational, and it may take many years for new parties who focus on issues above identity to become dominant, Jiyad noted.

‘Double game’

Al-Sadr also knew how to leverage the protests in the country when he supported the demonstrators.

He has presented himself as the tribune of the people and spearhead of the resistance against oppression, corruption and other abuses. All of this gave him a high degree of legitimacy in the eyes of his followers. However, here, too, a double game is played, said Al-Hassani.

“During the Tishreen protests, his ‘deputy’ directly incited violence against protesters in Nasiriya and praised the violence afterwards. When we discuss today, we must not forget his threat to activists and protesters.

“Sadr is by no means innocent, nor is he a man of the people as he claims to be,” Al-Hassani added.

With the violent suppression of the protests, so too were the hopes of an end to the corruption and the grievances connected with it. Hopes for a united Iraq with a robust civil society were also severely dampened. All of this has contributed to the heightened volatility in the country, but the origins of the continuing crisis remain elsewhere.

“What made the situation volatile is the violence practised by state and non-state armed groups: the assassinations, kidnappings, open murders of protesters in broad daylight. Free speech in Iraq is under dire threat. Many activists have had to flee either to the Kurdish Region of Iraq or outside the country. There is a lack of employment opportunities, a deteriorating healthcare system during the pandemic, and deteriorating infrastructure, not to mention social issues that result from all this, such as domestic violence, drug addiction, a rise in suicide rates, etc,” said Al-Hassani.

“At the moment, the volatility rests in the threats of violence and fears of escalation. It remains up to political winners like Sadr and behind-the-scenes political agreements to determine what happens next,” she added.

Whoever becomes the new head of state in Iraq, it will be harder for al-Sadr and his party to stand in the centre of power moving forward – and at the same time to position himself as the leader of a movement against the establishment. After all, to govern means to make decisions.

Moreover, with voter turnout of 41 percent, the new government’s democratic legitimacy already seems to be massively weakened before it has been formed.

Palestinians Protests Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Palestinians in Gaza protest Israel’s ‘Cemeteries of Numbers’. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

Palestinians in Gaza Protest ‘Cemeteries of Numbers’

October 21, 2021ArticlesFeaturesImages

By Mahmoud Ajjour – Gaza

The Social Committee of the Fatah Movement’s Prisoners’ Affairs in Gaza organized a protest on Wednesday demanding the release of the remains of Palestinians held in Israel’s so-called ‘Cemeteries of Numbers’

Bodies of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and fighters are kept in the notorious Israeli graveyard as a form of prolonged punishment to their families. 

The protest was attended by many members of the Fatah Movement in the Gaza Strip and representatives of other Palestinian political groups. Palestinians also demanded that the international community pressures Israel to end its violations of prisoners’ rights. 

“By holding our martyrs hostage, the Israeli occupation is brutally violating the very meaning of humanity and honor,” Ahmed Abu Al’Ata, the top Fatah member in Gaza, said in a speech. Abu Al’Ata added that “international law is meant to preserve the dignity of the dead and the protection of their remains, and having these remains return safely to their families to be buried with dignity, in accordance to their culture, traditions, and beliefs.”

International Community Worries About the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

International community worried over Pakistani nukes falling into Taliban’s hand

International community worried over Pakistani nukes falling into Taliban’s handANILast Updated: Oct 22, 2021, 10:28 AM

The Taliban has cleared its intention about developing its nuclear programme. It has appointed engineer Najeebullah as head of atomic energy. In such a scenario, the world will be on the verge of catastrophe if the Taliban manages to overrun Pakistan and seize around 150 nukes.

After the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, various former diplomats, military experts have expressed concerns over the collapse of the Islamabad government as the Taliban has expressed its intention about developing its nuclear programme, said foreign policy expert Fabien Baussart.

In a blog post of The Times of Israel, Baussart stated that the porous boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan is to aggravate the activities that can weaken the government.

The Times of Israel blog also stated that with Pakistan’s overall nuclear programme being based on stolen technology from the Netherlands and a huge number of Taliban supporters in the country, the world community needs to give serious attention to the burgeoning concern that poses challenges to the existence of humankind.

Citing US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Baussart said that he has warned that the speedy withdrawal of the US troops increased the risks to Pakistan’s security as well as its nuclear weapons.

“We estimated an accelerated withdrawal would increase risks of regional instability, the security of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenals,” he said. The hastily implemented troop withdrawal could lead to the Taliban getting its hand on Pakistani nuclear missiles, John Bolton, former US national security adviser. “The Taliban in control of Afghanistan threatens the possibility of terrorists taking control of Pakistan … that means maybe 150 nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists,” he said.

According to recent incidents, Taliban supporters were found in suspicious condition near nuclear installations in the UK. An Afghan national, suspected to be a Taliban supporter, was spotted to be near a nuclear submarine base in Scotland. This alerted the authorities in the UK. Now, the suspected person Waheed Totakhyl has been asked to leave the area. This has given strong clues about the Taliban being interested in nuclear technology and weapons.

In February 2020, the Afghanistan Nuclear Energy Agency had expressed concerns over after the Taliban began to resurge. The then-Afghan ambassador to Austria Khojesta Fana Ebrahimkhel had said “Some areas of the country are controlled by insurgent groups and national and international terrorist groups are active across the country. We have a serious concern about the illegal transportation of nuclear materials through Afghanistan by these groups.” Author Ronald Jacquard has warned that Pakistan’s nuclear assets cannot be considered remote after the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. “Thus, the international community have to watch Pakistan’s nuclear program cautiously until some form of stability returns to Afghanistan in order to prevent the country’s nuclear assets from landing in the hands of rogue elements,” he said.

The former democratic government in Afghanistan blamed the Pakistan establishment for joining hands with the Taliban to facilitate the Islamist radicals, who despise other religions, to rule the country. John Bolton, the former US National Security Adviser, said the Taliban could obtain Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as the Pakistan government was directly responsible for the Taliban’s return, the Fabien Baussart said.

Israel Prepares to Strike the Iranian Nuclear Horn

In this Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 photo Two Israeli air force F-15s of the Knights of the twin tail 133 squadron fly over Ovda airbase near Eilat, southern Israel, during the 2017 Blue Flag exercise - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.10.2021

IDF Training ‘Intensely’ for Strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities, Israeli Media Claims

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After gaining approval for a special $1.5 billion budget to bankroll the program, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are reportedly drilling for a potential airstrike against Iranian nuclear facilities, in case the Vienna negotiations fall through.The report first appeared on Israel’s Channel 12 on Thursday, claiming that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi had directed the Israeli Air Force to train “intensely” for an attack on facilities central to Iran’s nuclear program.The report didn’t say where the drills were being performed or if they were simulated or being rehearsed in actual aircraft. It also gave no source for the report.The news comes just two days after the government approved a $1.5 billion addition to the 2022 defense budget for preparing for such a strike – a program which was given a two-year hiatus after the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions designed to strangle Iran’s economy.Tel-Aviv has always disapproved of the JCPOA, and then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was among the few leaders who backed then-US President Donald Trump’s claims that Iran had been secretly circumventing the deal’s restrictions

In response to Trump’s move, Iran began producing higher purities of refined uranium and in larger quantities than had been permitted under the nuclear deal, although nothing approaching that capable of being used to build a nuclear bomb. While Israeli and US leaders have claimed time and again that Iran is just a short time away from having a viable weapon, Israeli military intelligence recently said Iran is “not heading toward a bomb right now.”

A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran, in this Maxar Technologies satellite image taken last week and obtained by Reuters on April 12, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.10.2021

A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km (155 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran, in this Maxar Technologies satellite image taken last week and obtained by Reuters on April 12, 2021.© REUTERS / MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES

Since US President Joe Biden took office, six rounds of talks directed toward reviving the JCPOA have been held in Vienna, but no deal has yet been reached. A seventh round is set to begin soon, and the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made increasing noise about the need for a stronger deal and for Israel and the US to draw up a “Plan B” in case talks ultimately fail.It’s unclear how Israel would go about striking Iranian nuclear facilities, many of which are deep inside the country and under the solid rock of the Zagros Mountains. It’s been speculated that a new massive 5,000-pound bunker buster bomb tested by the United States earlier this month might be the key, as the recent test was performed by an F-15E Strike Eagle, which the IAF operates under the name Ra’am – “thunder.”However, it won’t be like the IDF’s 1981 surprise hit on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, which was relatively undefended, unfortified, and sitting on an open plain. Iran has advanced air defense systems reportedly comparable to the better weapons an advanced military like Russia operates.Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, recently warned Israel against “any miscalculation or military adventure targeting Iran and its nuclear program.”Further, on Thursday and Friday, Iran is practicing its own nationwide drills involving five air bases and a host of Iranian fighters, strike aircraft, transports, and surveillance planes.