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

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago
It happened before, and it could happen again.
By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM
On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.
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.

The Chinese Help the Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China helping Pak augmenting its nuclear capabilities: Thinktank


Feb 08, 2022 18:31 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 8 (ANI): China’s aid to Pakistan in developing nuclear energy technology and assisting the country in the construction of nuclear power plants pose proliferation risks, reported a Canada-based thinktank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).
Pakistan refused to meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards and due to this, Canada decided to terminate its nuclear energy cooperation with Islamabad in 1976.
Safeguards are activities by which the IAEA can verify that a State is living up to its international commitments not to use nuclear programmes for nuclear-weapons purposes and Pakistan denied to meet these guidelines.
Ever since that, China, as part of its regional balance of power strategy in the South Asian region, has been enabling Pakistan to augment its nuclear capabilities.
This move undermines China‘s commitment to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation.
Not only this, it also enables Pakistan to devote more of its ‘unsafeguarded nuclear infrastructure’ to fissile material production for nuclear weapons, reported the thinktank.
According to IFFRAS, It did not take much time for China to reach out to Pakistan with their assistance in further developing Islamabad’s programme once Pakistan was denied help from Canada.
The think tank said that in the garb of addressing Pakistan‘s electricity shortages, China has been assisting the country to build its nuclear energy program.

In September 1986, China and Pakistan signed an agreement to facilitate the transfer of civil nuclear technology.
China supplied Pakistan with various nuclear weapon delivery systems, such as the export of the solid-fuelled, short-range DF-11 (M-11) ballistic missile in the early 1990s.
This sale equipped Pakistan with a reliable nuclear-capable delivery system amidst the development of a nuclear warhead, which it first tested in 1998.
This export was carried out by a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) named, ChinaPrecision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC), which markets and sells missiles abroad on behalf of other state-owned firms.
Between 1994 and 1995, a separate SOE, China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC), shipped 5,000 ring magnets to Dr A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories is a facility in Pakistan which is immune to international nuclear safeguards.
Ring magnets are key components that stabilize centrifuges used in uranium enrichment.
This transfer from a subsidiary of ChinaNational Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), which is China‘s largest nuclear energy SOE, to one of the primary research organizations working on Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program was a certain proof that the export was an intentional contribution to Islamabad’s growing nuclear weapons programme.
In 2017, Wuhan Sanjiang shipped components with applications in missile transporters and launchers to an entity connected to Pakistan‘s nuclear and missile work.
Most recently, on September 8, 2021, PAEC and CZEC signed, ‘The Framework Agreement on Deepening Nuclear Energy Cooperation, which would enable technology transfer for uranium mining and processing, nuclear fuel supply and setting up research reactors, reported the thinktank. (ANI)

The Russian Nuclear Horn Moves Into Europe: Daniel 7

Russian Defence Ministry testing new strategic weapon systems

Russia Deploys Hypersonic Missile To Baltic In Range Of NATO Capitals

02:04am ESTAerospace & Defense

I cover international security, conflict, history and aviation.

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As U.S. paratroopers began arriving in Poland on Monday in response to Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, a video posted on Telegram appears to depict the landing of a Russian MiG-31K Foxhound jet (or MiG-31I in recent Russian state media reports) carrying what looks like a Kinzhal hypersonic land-attack missile in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea bordering Poland and Lithuania.

The video seemingly can be geolocated to the Kaliningrad Chkalovsk naval airbase in the exclave.

Later, unconfirmed reports suggest as many as four or five Kinzhal-armed MiG-31s may have landed in Kaliningrad.

The Kinzhal (“Dagger”) missile—designated the Kh-47M2 and more recently the 9-A-76609 in Russian sources—has a reported range of 1,240 miles and can carry either an 1,100-pound fragmentation warhead or up to a 500-kiloton nuclear warhead with 33 times the yield of the Fat Man bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 

Accelerating to over ten times the speed of sound (more than 2 miles per secondit leaves air defenses little time to react as it flies at a shallower trajectory than a traditional ballistic missile, and can maneuver evasively for a good measure. Allegedly, the Kinzhal is capable of precision strikes using a terrain-matching sensor, as well as engaging moving ships at sea using a radar seeker.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – MAY 9, 2018: Mikoyan MiG-31K [+]Alexei Nikolsky/POOL/TASS

Russia’s base in Kaliningrad ordinarily does not host MiG-31Ks. While sizeable ground forces defend it, and it hosts Russia’s Baltic Fleet and nuclear-capable short-range Iskander missiles, most of the 50 warplanes based there are older Su-27 and Su-24 jets, though some newer Su-30SM and Su-35S are being phased in.

In this photo taken from video provided by the [+]ASSOCIATED PRESS

Therefore, the deployment of a MiG-31K would likely be intended as a deliberate warning to NATO: a threat of retaliation should the alliance consider intervening against possible Russian military action in Ukraine.

As military analyst Rob Lee notes in a tweet, a Kinzhal launched over Kaliningrad’s airspace can reach most West European capitals and Ankara, while the Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad can at most reach the northern edge of Berlin. Furthermore, a Kinzhal may reach those targets within 7-10 minutes of being launched from over Kaliningrad’s airspace.

It’s worth noting that Russian deployments to Belarus, in addition to posing a tangible threat to the nearby Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, also may be intended in part to help protect Kaliningrad from NATO pressure by threatening to cut or interdict the narrow land corridor connecting Poland to the Baltic states called the Suwalki Gap.

A Polish border post is pictured on July 3, 2016 [+]AFP via Getty Images

That said, the Kinzhal presently may remain primarily a conventional weapon in both a material and doctrinal sense according to Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military at the Center of Naval Analyses. He commented that Kinzhal is “typically referred to as a strategic conventional weapon in Russian military discourse. I’ve not seen evidence that the aircraft operating it are equipped for a nuclear mission.”

That suggests that while the Kinzhal may still be theoretically capable of nuclear weapons delivery, that feature may not have been technically implemented and trained for yet.

Of course, Russia also has over a thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise-missile carrying bombers that can strike targets across globe, but even the limited use of these strategic nuclear delivery systems risks triggering a country-shattering strategic nuclear war. 

Moscow may believe (rightly or wrongly) that the shorter-range, dual-capable Kinzhal is a still serious but more ‘useable’ threat falling under the threshold of precipitating a strategic nuclear conflict with the United States.

RYAZAN REGION, RUSSIA – AUGUST 10, 2019: Targets [+]Alexander Ryumin/TASS

The Kinzhal is a shortened evolution of the ground-launched Iskander. It only works as designed if launched from an aircraft flying very high at extreme speeds, which is how the MiG-31, an aircraft designed as a Mach 3-capable air defense interceptor, came to be tapped to carry a land-attack weapon. 

Russia is believed to have modified just 10-12 MiG-31Ks so far out of a planned 50 to carry Kinzhals. Thus, the deployment of at least one, or according to some reports, half of Russia’s Kinzhal-armed MiG-31K suggests how seriously the Russian military is preparing for various contingencies surrounding possible military action in Ukraine, including that of deterring NATO involvement.

That said, it’s remains uncertain whether Putin will follow through on an invasion of Ukraine, which he appears to have meticulously arrayed Russia’s military for. On the same day, Putin allegedly told French President Macron he would withdraw the 30,000 troops in Belarus at the end of an exercise due to conclude February 20. Time will tell if those assurances speak to Putin’s intentions more clearly than recent movements of Russian forces, including the hypersonic weapon landed in Kaliningrad.

Ukraine and the Threat of Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Ukrainian soldier on guard

Ukraine and the Threat of Nuclear War

Why do we fail to consider the danger?

By Nan Levinson

When I urge my writing students to juice up their stories, I tell them about “disruptive technologies,” inventions and concepts that end up irrevocably changing industries. Think: iPhones, personal computers, or to reach deep into history, steamships. It’s the tech version of what we used to call a paradigm shift. (President Biden likes to refer to it as an inflection point.)

Certain events function that way, too. After they occur, it’s impossible to go back to how things were: World War II for one generation, the Vietnam War for another, and 9/11 for a third. Tell me it isn’t hard now to remember what it was like to catch a flight without schlepping down roped-off chutes like cattle to the slaughter, even if for most of the history of air travel, no one worried about underwear bombers or explosive baby formula. Of course, once upon a time, we weren’t incessantly at war either.

However, for my students, the clumsily named Gen Z, the transformative event in their lives hasn’t been a war at all—no matter that their country has been enmeshed in one or more of them for all of their conscious lives. It’s probably George Floyd’s murder or the Covid pandemic or the double whammy of both, mixed in with a deadly brew of Trumpism. That alone strikes me as a paradigm shift.

In my more cynical moments, though, I note that it was the girls and women who were regularly trotted out by our government officials and generals insisting that US troops must remain in Afghanistan until—until what? Until, as it turned out, disaster struck. After all, what good American heart doesn’t warm to educating the young and freeing girls from forced marriages (as opposed, of course, to killing civilians and causing chaos)?

It’s not that they are uncaring. Those I know are ardent about fixing myriad wrongs in the world and prepared to work at it, too. And like many Americans, for a few weeks as August 2021 ended, they were alarmed by the heartbreaking consequences of their country’s failed mission in Afghanistan and its betrayal of the people there. How could you not be heartbroken about people desperate to save their lives and livelihoods? And the girls… ah, the girls, the 37 percent of teenage girls who learned to read in those years, went to school with boys, saw their lives change, and probably will be denied all of that in the years to come.

Militarism is among the all-American problems the young activists I meet do sometimes bring up. It’s just not very high on their list of issues to be faced. The reasons boil down to this: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, interminable as they seemed, had little or no direct effect on most of my students or the lives they imagined having and that was reflected in their relative lack of attention to them, which tells us all too much about this country in the twenty-first century.

Spare Change

So here we are, 20 years after US troops invaded Afghanistan and months since they hotfooted it out. That two-decade-long boots-on-the-ground (and planes in the air) episode has now officially been declared over and done with, if not exactly paid for. But was that an inflection point, as this country turned its military attention to China and Russia? Not so fast. I’m impatient with the conventional wisdom about our twenty-first-century wars and the reaction to them at home. Still, I do think it’s important to try to figure out what has (or hasn’t) been learned from them and what may have changed because of them.

In the changed column, alas, the answer seems to be: not enough. Once again, in the pandemic moment, our military is filling roles that would be left to civil society if it were adequately funded—helping in hospitals and nursing homes, administering Covid-19 vaccinations and tests, teaching school and driving school buses —because, as Willie Sutton answered when asked why he robbed banks, that’s where the money is.

Apparently, it’s so much money that even the Defense Department doesn’t quite know how to spend it. Between 2008 and 2019, the Pentagon returned almost $128 billion in unspent funds from its staggeringly vast and still expanding budget. Admittedly, that’s a smaller percentage of that budget than other departments turned back, but it started with so much more and, as a result, that Pentagon spare change accounted for nearly half of all “cancelled” government funds during that time.

Yet too little of those vast sums spent go to active-duty troops. A recent survey found that 29 percent of the families of junior-level, active-duty soldiers experienced food insecurity (that is, hunger) in the past year, a strong indicator of the economic precariousness of everyday military life, even here at home.

It didn’t help that the US military’s wars only sporadically drew extended public attention. Of course, before 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, that country’s name was shorthand for a place too obscure for most Americans even to find on a world map. And maybe that was still true in 2020, when, nearly two decades after the United States invaded that nation, the American presence there got all of five minutes of coverage on the national evening newscasts of CBS, NBC, and ABC.

Years earlier, when the focus was more on Iraq than Afghanistan, I attended a meeting of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Veterans For Peace. I was writing a story for The Boston Globe, which made me an easy target for the veterans’ anger. As a result, they badgered me to make our city’s newspaper of record print a daily report of deaths in the war. I explained that, as a freelancer, I had even less influence than they did and, unsurprisingly, such an accounting never came to pass.

Years later, as the US endeavor in Afghanistan wound down and the Globe and other mainstream outlets did actually publish calculations of the costs, I found myself wondering if all those credible, influential media sources would ever publish a reckoning of how many times in the past 20 years, when it might have made a difference, they had run cost analyses of the blinding arrogance that defined US foreign and military policy in those decades. The impact of such accountings might have been vanishingly small anyway.

It’s true, by the way, that Brown University’s Costs of War Project did a formidable job of tackling that issue in those endless war years, but their accounts were, of course, anything but mainstream. Even today, in that mainstream, accurate counts are still hard to come by. The New York Times, which recently published a groundbreaking reporton civilian deaths in the Middle East caused by US air strikes, was stymied by the Pentagon for years when trying to get the necessary documents for just such an accounting, while provincial authorities in Afghanistan often denied that civilian casualties had even occurred.

Presence and Power

In 2004, when Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was just getting started, I was introduced to a small group of disillusioned but determined young vets, wonderfully full of themselves and intent on doing things their way. While they appreciated the earlier soldier-led anti-war efforts of the Vietnam War era, they wanted to do it all in a new fashion. “We’re sort of reinventing the wheel,” Eli Wright, a young medic, who had served in Iraq, told me, “But we’re making it a much nicer wheel, I think.” I was smitten.

At first, those newly minted anti-warriors thought the very novelty of their existence in war-on-terror America would be enough. So, they told and retold their stories to anyone who would listen: stories of misguided raids and policing actions for which they were ill-equipped and ill-trained; of soul-destroying cruelty they found themselves implicated in; and of their dawning awareness, even while they were in Iraq, that they could no longer be a party to any of it. Believe me, those veterans told powerful and moving stories, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

In a piece about the power and pitfalls of storytelling, Jonathan Gottschall notes that, in the tales we tell, we tend to divide people into a tidy triad of heroes, victims, and villains. My longtime trope was that we—by which I mean we Americans—allowed those fighting our endless wars to be only heroes or victims—the former to valorize, the latter to pity—but nothing else. (Admittedly, sometimes civilian peace workers did see them as villains, but despite an inevitable jockeying for position, civilian and military anti-war groups generally recognized each other as comrades-against-arms.) IVAW insisted on adding activist to that dichotomy, as they attempted to change minds and history.

When you’re trying to do that, or at least influence policy, your odds of success are greater if you have a clear, specific goal you can advocate and agitate for and build coalitions around. Then, when you achieve it, you can, of course, claim victory. IVAW’s overriding aim was to bring the troops home immediately. That goal was finally (more or less) achieved, though at great cost and so much later than they had been demanding, making it anything but a resounding victory; nor did it, in the end, have much to do with those young veterans.

Their significance may lie elsewhere. Last August, in the midst of the chaotic US pull-out from Afghanistan, I tuned in to a podcast about political and social activism just as Rashad Robinson, president of the racial justice organization Color of Change, was making a distinction between presence (“retweets, shout-outs from the stage”) and power (“the ability to change the rules”).

It would be hard to come up with a better illustration of that difference than Camp Casey, the August 2005 encampment of anti-war military families, veterans, and their sympathizers. It was sprawled across a ditch in Crawford, Texas, a few miles down the road from the ranch of a vacationing President George W. Bush. Their protest made significant news for those five weeks, as media around the world featured heart-rending stories of mothers in mourning and veterans in tears, photos of an iconic white tent, and interviews with Cindy Sheehan whose son, Casey, had been killed in Iraq the year before. The media anointed her the Grieving Mother in Chief and news reportssometimes even got the protesters’ end-the-war, bring-the-troops-home message right.

Whizzing past in a motorcade on his way to a fundraiser, President Bush ignored them, and the war in Iraq continued for another five years with the deaths of about 2,700 more sons and daughters of grieving American mothers. But the next month, when somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 Camp Casey participants, veterans, and their supporters gathered for an anti-war march through downtown Washington, D.C., the government was forced to acknowledge, perhaps for the first time, the existence of opposition to the war in Iraq. For context, the National Park Service estimated then that, of the approximately 3,000 permits it issued for demonstrations on the National Mall yearly, only about a dozen attracted more than 5,000 people.

Presence matters and in the few years following Camp Casey, when the anti-war veterans were at their most effective, they learned how to make themselves harder to ignore. They’ve since renamed their group About Face and reconceived its purpose and goals, but the perennial challenge to political activists is how to turn presence into power.

Why Didn’t the Anti-War Movement Catch On?

In February 2003, as many as 10 million people took to the streets in 60 countries to protest the impending US invasion of Iraq. But once that invasion happened, it was primarily the military-related groups, sometimes joined by other peace organizations, that kept the opposition alive. Why, though, couldn’t they turn presence into power? Why didn’t more Americans take up the campaign to end two such pointless wars? Why didn’t we learn?

I make no claim to answering those questions in a definitive way. Nonetheless, here’s my stab at it.

Let’s start with the obvious: the repercussions of an all-volunteer military. Only a small proportion of Americans, self-selected and concentrated in certain parts of the country, have been directly involved in and affected by our twenty-first-century wars. Deployed over and over, they didn’t circulate in civil society in the way the previous draft military had and, as warfare became increasingly mechanized and automated (or drone-ified), there have been ever fewer American casualties to remind everyone else in this country that we were indeed at war in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the troops, that distancing from battle also undoubtedly lessened an innate human resistance to killing and also objections to those wars within the military itself.

Next, stylish as it might be in this country to honor veterans of our wars (thank you for your service!), as Kelly Dougherty, IVAW’s first executive director, complained, “We come home and everyone shakes our hands and calls us heroes, but no one wants to listen to us.” Stories of bravery, horrific wounds, and even post-traumatic stress syndrome were acceptable. Analysis, insight, or testimony about what was actually going on in the war zones? Not so much.

Folksinger, labor organizer, and vet “Utah” Phillipsobserved that having a long memory is the most radical idea in America. With items in the news cycle lasting for ever-shorter periods of time before being replaced, administrations becoming ever harder to embarrass, and a voting public getting accustomed to being lied to, even a short memory became a challenge.

The hollowing out of local news in these years only exacerbated the problem. Less local reporting meant fewer stories about people we might actually know or examples of how world events affect our daily lives. Pro-war PR, better funded and connected than any anti-war group could hope to be, filled the gap. Think soldiers striding onto ballfields at sports events to the teary surprise of families and self-congratulatory cheers from the stands. Between 2012 and 2015, the Pentagon paid pro sports teams some $6.8 million to regularly and repeatedly honor the military. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has made it ever harder for peace groups to gain traction by applying a double standard to protest or outsider politics, a reality sociologist Sarah Sobieraj has explored strikingly in her book Soundbitten.

The nature of political protest changed, too. As information was disseminated and shared more and more through social media—activism by way of hashtag, tweet, and Instagram—organizing turned ever more virtual and ever less communal. Finally, despite protestations about the United States being a peace-loving country, the military in these years has proven a rare bipartisan darling, while, historically speaking, violence has been bred into America’s bones.

Maybe, however, the lack of active opposition to the endless wars wasn’t a new normal, but something like the old normal. Sadly enough, conflicts don’t simply end because people march against them. Even the far larger Vietnam anti-war movement was only one pressure point in winding down that conflict. War policy is directed by what happens on the ground and, to a lesser degree, at the ballot box. What an anti-war movement can do is help direct the public response, which may, fingers crossed, save the country from going to war someplace else and save another generation of soldiers from having to repeat the mistakes of the past 20 years.

Gen. Ghaani meets with the Antichrist in Najaf

Gen. Ghaani meets with Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf

Gem. Ghaani meets with Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf

TEHRAN, Feb. 08 (MNA) – The IRGC Quds Force commander Brigadier General Esmaeil Ghaani has met with the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf on Tuesday.

Feb 8, 2022, 8:14 PM

Local Iraqi media have said that Brigadier General Esmaeil Ghaani, IRGC Quds Force commander has held a meeting with Iraq’s influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf on Tuesday. 

The meeting comes as the consultations among different political groups in Iraq to form the next government continues.

The local Iraqi media have said that Sadr’s office has confirmed the meeting on Tuesday.

The IRGC Quds Force commander Esmaeil Ghaani has already held talks with leaders of the Shia Coordinating Council which consists of different winners of the recent elections in Iraq. 


The IDF Prepares for war outside the temple walls: Revelation 11

Israeli soldiers at a staging area near the Israeli border with Gaza, May 16, 2021 (Avi Roccah/Flash90)

IDF launches surprise Gaza drill to test Southern Command’s readiness

Exercise is meant to simulate a sudden outbreak of violence along the border; residents told to expect to see major troop movements

By Judah Ari Gross 7 Feb 2022, 9:24 am

The Israel Defense Forces launched a surprise exercise simulating a sudden outbreak of fighting on the Gaza border on Monday, the military said.

The exercise is meant to test the readiness of the IDF Southern Command and its ability to respond to a rapidly developing conflict and its “inter-organizational and inter-branch cooperation,” the IDF said in a statement.

Residents of the Gaza border area were told they should expect to see large numbers of ground troops and aircraft in the area and may hear the sounds of explosions.

Monday’s drill was part of a series of exercises known as “Chief of Staff Evaluations,” which began under IDF chief Aviv Kohavi as a way to assess the military’s preparedness on a number of fronts.

As part of these examinations, the Israeli Navy simulated a response to a sudden maritime threat on the Lebanese border in September 2019; a few months later the military was forced to respond to a sudden “cyber-attack,” which shut down key computer systems; in 2020, the IDF Central Command simulated a kidnapping and outbreak of violence in the West Bank; and last November, the military tested how quickly it could call up reservistsshould fighting break out in Lebanon, among others.

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Though these surprise evaluations are kept secret from those taking part in them, the military said that Monday’s exercise was planned in advance as part of the 2022 training schedule.

The Southern Command’s performance during the surprise drill will be assessed by the IDF comptroller and the IDF Operations Directorate.

The grim risk of nuclear war in our future Revelation 16


Threat Assessment Grim on Weapons of Mass Destruction

Peter Brookes  @Brookes_Peter / Jacob Montoya  /February 07, 2022

Alongside so many other threats to U.S. interests, weapons of mass destruction is another area that will be of deep concern this year.

Indeed, there are good reasons to be nervous about threats from weapons of mass destruction arising not only from rogue states such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria—but also from great powers such as China and Russia, too.


The regime in Iran continues to move closer to building a nuclear weapon, which would threaten its Arab neighbors, American ally Israel, and possibly eventually even the United States.

For years now, Tehran has been violating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka “the Iran nuclear deal,” which the Trump administration disavowed due to the pact’s serious flaws.

Some analysis asserts that Iran may be just a short time away from having the necessary amount of highly enriched uranium to build a bomb—maybe even a few bombs.

That’s downright frightening.

Questions do exist about whether Iran can turn that highly enriched uranium into a workable warhead, but with the largest missilearsenal in the Middle East, it does have a way to get a nuke to a regional target.

Tehran is also working on expanding the range of its ballistic missiles through its “civilian” space program that one day could enable it to launch an ICBM toward the U.S.

With diplomatic talks to restore—or replace—the Iran nuclear deal failing, Iran could be looking at becoming the 10th member of the once-exclusive nuclear weapons club at some point soon.   

North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hates to be ignored, especially by his archenemy, the U.S. He’s literally gone “ballistic” as a result of that need for attention already in 2022.

Indeed, by the end of January, North Korea had conducted seven missile tests, including an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which could potentially reach Guam.

More troubling, the North Korean regime “implicitly threatened” to begin nuclear and ICBM testing again, which its hasn’t done since 2017.

With denuclearization talks going nowhere, both are a distinct—and destabilizing—possibility.

Pyongyang is thought to have some 30 to 60 nuclear weapons in its arsenal that could be mated to a variety of ballistic missiles for strikes against targets in the region—or even the United States.


The silo expansion could mean China could soon rival the U.S.’ land-based ICBM force.

Beijing is expanding and diversifying its nuclear capabilities on an unprecedented scale. The commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, called it “breathtaking.”

Discovery of the construction of nearly 250 new land-based ICBM silos in the summer of 2021 undermines the idea that China is still adhering to its long-standing “minimum deterrent” nuclear force.

China has also sent its nuclear strike force to sea on submarines and is developing a strategic bomber leg as part of what will soon be a nuclear triad.

Beijing is also developing unique ways to deliver its nukes.

Last year, China stunned many by testing a fractional orbital bombardment system, which circumnavigated the globe before releasing a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle at a target.

That increase in Beijing’s nuclear numbers and capabilities raises the specter of parity or near-parity with the U.S.—or even superiority.

That’s a chilling thought in an era of great power competition and the level of strategic distrust that exists between Washington and Beijing.


Besides modernizing its nuclear force, Russia is also diversifying it, testing and deploying a number of novel nuclear weapons.

Those nontraditional nuclear-capable weapons systems include an ICBM, three hypersonic weapons, a long-range nuclear-powered underwater torpedo, and an unlimited-range nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Add to that a concern about Russia’s doctrine for its nonstrategic (i.e., low-yield) nuclear weapons, aka battlefield or tactical nukes.

Moscow’s “escalate to deescalate” doctrine contemplates using a tactical nuke in a conventional conflict with NATO to end resistance to its aggression by crossing the nuclear threshold.

Considering Russia’s belligerence in Europe, those small nukes are a big problem for NATO.

Chemical and Biological Weapons

Weapons of mass destruction also include chemical and biological weapons—and their recent use is deeply troubling. Indeed, Israel reportedly struck targets in Syria that might be involved in the production of chemical weapons.

The Damascus regime has already used chemical weapons against civilians in Syria’s civil war—and could use them in a conflict with Israel.

Also, don’t forget Russia’s use of a nerve agent against political opponents Sergei Skripal and Alexei Navalny or North Korea’s use of VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim’s half-brother.

While we’ve not seen a biological weapon used, the COVID-19 pandemic painfully reminds us of the potential power of a purposely unleashed biological pathogen. 

No one likes to think about these horrific weapons, especially in the hands of troubling regimes, but unfortunately, due to their destructive power, we’re going to have to in 2022.