A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault LineMonday, March 14, 2011By Bob HennellyThe Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.„There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,“ said Robinson. „There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.“Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: „The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,“ he said.„More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.„Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,“ according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
Day: April 9, 2022
The Next Nuclear Horn Will Be South Korea: Daniel 7
Could The World’s Next Nuclear Power Be U.S. Ally South Korea?
BY TOM O’CONNOR ON 4/7/22 AT 5:02 PM EDT
The United States has long sought to oppose efforts to expand the exclusive club of nuclear-armed nations, a small clique most recently joined 16 years year ago by North Korea. But as current members expand hone new capabilities and unrest plagues the international community, one or even two of Washington’s own allies may seek to build a bomb of their own.
For decades, South Korea and Japan have lived under the umbrella of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the second largest in the world after that of Cold War-era rival Russia, once again a top-priority foe after last month’s incursion into Ukraine. Now, however, Seoul is revisiting its nuclear strategy in what would mark a massive shift in the security situation in Asia and the non-proliferation regime that has attempted to rein in such weapons of mass destruction across the globe.
Lami Kim, assistant professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Department of National Security and Strategy, told Newsweek that “there are important differences between Ukraine and South Korea,” as “Ukraine is not a U.S. ally, while South Korea has significant strategic importance for the U.S.”
“That said, there has been a constant fear of abandonment by the U.S. among South Koreans, and what’s happening in Ukraine has heightened this fear,” added Kim, who also serves as a U.S.-Korea NextGen Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an adjunct fellow at the Pacific Forum. “I believe that’s strengthening their ambition for nuclear armament.”
That ambition has roots that precede the Ukraine war. It was reflected in a poll published by the Chicago Council on February 21, three days before Putin’s invasion, which showed up to 71% of South Koreans would support developing nuclear capabilities. Only just over half, around 56%, would seek U.S. nuclear weapons on their country’s soil, and, if forced to choose, just 9% would accept U.S. nuclear weapons as opposed to 67% who backed an independent arsenal.
Kim helped author the survey, but she issued a caution about interpreting the results of the study, saying “we need to distinguish between popular sentiment and what the government will likely decide to do.”
But if Seoul, emboldened by the election of new conservative leader Yoon Seok-yeol, did decide to embark on the path of developing nuclear arms, she said the consequences would be seismic.
“If the U.S. fails to prevent South Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, that would ring a death knell to the international nonproliferation efforts,” Kim said. “It is possible that Japan would follow suit and develop its own nuclear weapons.”
Tokyo has been far more reluctant to embrace a nuclear future, particularly because it is the only country in the world that has ever been targeted by such weapons, and not just once, but twice — Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
But even in Japan, there is a growing push to review the three non-nuclear principles adopted half a century ago, as former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo called on lawmakers last month to consider hosting U.S. nuclear weapons.
“And if the U.S. accepts, or even promotes its allies’ nuclear armament,” Kim said, “its argument that other countries like Iran and North Korea shouldn’t have nuclear weapons wouldn’t carry any weight.”
How the conflict raging in Europe influences these nuclear debates in South Korea and Japan “depends on the outcome of the war in Ukraine,” according to Steve Fetter, an associate provost and dean at the University of Maryland’s Graduate School, who is also a former member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Science Board and Energy Department’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee.
“If Russia does not achieve its objectives and is deterred from further armed conflict, and if the NATO alliance is strengthened, that should increase the confidence of Japan and South Korea in U.S. security guarantees and in our collective ability to resist coercion, deter armed conflict and decrease support for an independent nuclear capability,” Fetter told Newsweek.
Both Japan and South Korea “have highly advanced scientific and technological capabilities, including extensive civilian nuclear industries,” he said, and “either country could obtain nuclear weapons, if it chose to do so.”
“Fortunately, both countries have demonstrated a strong commitment to nonproliferation and to remaining non-nuclear-weapon states,” Fetter added. “U.S. security guarantees are an important foundation for this commitment.”
But if NATO’s success in backing Ukraine against Russia may assuage fears that help fuel a desire for an independent nuclear option, then the alliance’s failure to do so may only exacerbate the concerns that are driving these trends. Moreover, developments even closer to home appear to be having a potentially even more potent effect, especially in South Korea.
“I believe that the war in Ukraine, along with North Korea’s recent ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] testing, has had an indirect influence in reinforcing South Korea’s belief that it needs to improve its strategic deterrence, namely through nuclear means,” William Kim, a researcher at the Stimson Center’s 38 North program with previous experience at the House Armed Services Committee, told Newsweek.
He said the popular support for a nuclear option in South Korea has “been reinforced” by “the heightened calls for South Korea’s nuclear armament in response to the invasion,” as well as last month’s election of conservative leader Yoon, “who has advocated for the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea.”
Russia Says Ukraine Crisis Must Not Reach Arctic, NATO Says It Already Has
Yoon’s razor-thin victory, with a margin of less than 1%, has raised concerns of even more serious tensions returning to the Korean Peninsula. It could mark the end of an era of President Moon Jae-in’s urgent attempts to make peace between two rival neighbors still technically at war since 1950.
But even under Moon’s administration South Korea has expanded its military capabilities, forging a new deal with President Joe Biden last May that would lift long-standing limits on Seoul’s ballistic missile development. In September, South Korea tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), becoming the first non-nuclear power to do so.
The test came just hours after North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) fired two short-range ballistic missiles believed to have been launch from a railway-based platform, part of a series of tests showcasing various capabilities, including last month’s ICBM test, the first of its kind since 2017.
In response to this most recent DPRK test, South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea -ROK) immediately ordered missile drills including land, air and sea platforms, suggesting a more assertive tone from Seoul even before Yoon entered the Blue House.
However, South Korea’s hardline tactics are likely to be met in kind by North Korea. Just days after South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook discussed the possibility of carrying out preemptive strikes against its foe, the DPRK’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee Vice Department Director Kim Yo Jong, sister of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, issued two statements in which she warned Seoul should “discipline itself if it wants to stave off disaster,” and threatened “a miserable fate little short of total destruction and ruin” if the situation escalated.
And in a rare move, she explicitly pointed out the “obvious contrast” between the countries, with North Korea, unlike South Korea, being “a nuclear weapons state,” even though she insisted her words were rooted in “the fact that the north and the south of Korea are of the same nation who should not fight against each other.”
Yoon’s spokesperson, Kim Eun-hye, answered by defending Suh’s comments, telling a press briefing Tuesday that “we will respond without the slightest error to North Korea’s provocations and security threats.”
With the new leader set to be sworn in next month, William Kim told Newsweek that “only time will tell whether President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s comments in favor of nuclear armament of South Korea were an idea with real policy intent or just lip service to secure conservative voters in favor of nuclear options.”
“However,” he added, “it is more likely than not that the current security context of the world will reinforce his belief in strengthening the ROK’s defense capabilities, either through conventional or nuclear means.”
Should Seoul choose to do so, though, he said he was confident that it would not risk triggering the international isolation that has befallen Pyongyang.
“South Korea is too intertwined and embedded into the global economy — as a leader in critical industries like semiconductors and EV [electric vehicle] batteries — that even if it does pursue nuclear armament of any kind,” William Kim argued, “it will try to do so within acceptable boundaries that do not invite sanctions or other aggressive responses from the rest of the world.”
Jeong-Ho Roh, director of Columbia University’s Center for Korean Studies, agreed with that assessment.
“One of the most important things we have to understand is nuclear weapons or nuclear programs, it’s a legal issue, it’s a matter of law,” he said. “It’s not a question of politics or others.”
Three decades ago, the two Koreas agreed on the denuclearization of their shared peninsula in a joint declaration as the U.S. withdrew the nuclear weapons it had deployed on its ally’s territory since the late 1950s. At that time, Pyongyang and Seoul were both parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a 1968 agreement that sought to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, but the DPRK withdrew from the treaty in 2003, three years before it conducted its first nuclear test.
Roh argued that North Korea’s decision to pursue nuclear weapons has made their 1992 joint declaration “no longer valid legally.” And even with the NPT in place, the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on nuclear weapons published in 1996 ruled that there is no source of law, customary or treaty, that explicitly prohibits the possession or even use of nuclear weapons.
While the status quo has prevailed for some time given U.S. security commitments, a solidifying Chinese and Russian acceptance of North Korea’s nuclear-capable moves, indicated by their lack of condemnation of the recent ICBM test, as well as growing uncertainties regarding the U.S. commitment to taking on nuclear powers directly, as evidenced by the war in Ukraine, has fostered what Roh identified as “the necessity for [South] Korea to be more self-sufficient.”
“What happened this year is a direct reflection of this polarizing world,” Roh said. “The legal institutions that were formed post-1945 and the U.N. that created our legal order has essentially been weakened.”
Russia Wants Cyber Treaty ‘Before It’s Too Late,’ US Hopes World Rejects It
Still, Roh felt that South Korea pursuing its own nuclear option was far less likely than reintroducing U.S. nuclear weapons to the country as part of a sharing agreement. The U.S. has similar agreements with non-nuclear NATO allies such as Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey — yet another legal nuclear gray zone.
Such a move, he argued, would also be more tolerable or even beneficial to Japan, which would otherwise find a “nuclear South Korea” to be “not acceptable,” even if Seoul took the semi-internationally endorsed “responsible” route like India as opposed to North Korea’s “rogue” path.
Though both U.S. allies, Japan and South Korea have a difficult history with deep-seated conflicting narratives rooted in the former’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula in the first half of the 20th century. Their inability to reconcile this past has led to high-profile diplomatic and political disputes, some ongoing to this day.
As such, Roh notes that “one of the other problems, of course, is: can Korea and Japan really cooperate with each other based on our unfortunate history?”
Another important aspect of the situation in the Asia-Pacific is what Roh calls “three hotspots” in the region, including the Korean Peninsula, the self-ruling island of Taiwan sought by an increasingly assertive China, and the lesser publicized territorial dispute between Japan and Russia over an island chain largely controlled by the latter but claimed in full by the former.
This feud has also left Moscow and Tokyo without a peace treaty since World War II, when fears of a Soviet invasion deeper into Japan played into the U.S. calculus to expedite victory through atomic warfare in the first place, thus avoiding the kind of division that took place in the Korean Peninsula, or even Germany.
Even as Russia deploys new weapons to these islands and Japan broadens its own conventional arsenal, however, Nakano Koichi, a professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, said that Japan’s place in the “Far East” still made the conflict in Ukraine feel distant for most in the country.
“There certainly are plenty of conservative political, security, business, and media elites here that want to utilize the war in Ukraine to bury Japanese postwar pacifism once and for all,” Nakano told Newsweek. “But the popular opinion remains divided at best, and in my view, still predominantly strongly antiwar.”
Among the U.N’s 193 member states, only nine are known to have nuclear weapons. These include Russia and the U.S., which hold up to 90% of the world’s arsenal, NATO members France and the United Kingdom, a rapidly developing China, neighboring rivals India and Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, which neither confirms nor denies its possession of such weapons.
Others to have explored nuclear capabilities include apartheid-era South Africa, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who was toppled by the U.S. over ultimately false claims that he was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, and Libya under Muammar el-Qaddafi, who was overthrown in a NATO-backed rebellion years after securing a deal to shutter his program for better ties with the West.
Another country at the center of the nuclear debate is Iran, which has an advanced nuclear program that officials have repeatedly denied was intended to produce a weapon. Still, the Islamic Republic’s efforts have resulted in intensive negotiations, as the Biden administration attempted to reenter a 2015 deal abandoned by then-President Donald Trump in 2018.
Now, as the war in Ukraine continues, even Russian ally Belarus has amended its law to potentially host Russian nuclear weapons as Minsk draws Western condemnation for its role in the conflict.
Ukraine also once possessed a massive nuclear stockpile during its time as part of the Soviet Union. When the USSR collapsed, the weapons were returned to Russia in exchange for economic and security assurances as part of a 1996 agreement. Though Kyiv never controlled the weapons, many today cite this as yet another example of how giving up nuclear weapons resulted in little benefit.
Sung-Yoon Lee, who serves as the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, told Newsweek that the reality of recent international events meant we are living in “a very different world” than the one that previously restrained such nuclear steps.
“Today, we are past the prelude in this portentous five-act drama,” he argued, one in which “it increasingly appears that there are few reasonable options for Seoul other than arming itself with nukes.”
“While wiser folks may reverse this trajectory, I think we are nearing the end of Act 1,” Lee said. “Act 5 will close the day with the opening of Japan’s own nuclearization play, and the NPT by then will ring hollow. Can South Korea and Japan become ‘responsible’ nuclear powers, say, like the UK and France? Perhaps.”
“But, while one has a fairly good idea of how Rambo 5 or Pyongyang’s next post-provocation peace ploy may end,” he added, “this, the South Korean nuclear drama, is a novel story whose ending is unknown.”
Nuclear powers are on a deadly path to the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16
Nuclear powers are on a deadly path to more conflict
Frank Jackson says world leaders must look to peaceful solutions, not more weapons
LettersThu 7 Apr 2022 13.15 EDT
Truly, the human race has a death wish. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight – the latest it has ever been – for the past two years. Yet even more expenditure is planned on the means of death and destruction (Aukus pact extended to development of hypersonic weapons, 5 April).
In January, the five primary nuclear weapon powers, the US, Russia, France, China and the UK, made a joint statement, echoing the original declaration by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1985, that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”. Just months later, the response to the carnage in Ukraine, and the threat to use nuclear weapons, is not to draw back from the precipice, but to accelerate the drive to the cliff edge.
When are the (mis)leaders of the world going to recognise that the only answer to the many existential threats that face us is cooperation at all levels to find peaceful solutions to potential, and actual, conflicts?
Former co-chair, World Disarmament Campaign
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Troops Injured in Rocket Attack by Iranian Horn
Troops Injured in Rocket Attack on US Base in Syria
6 hours ago April 8, 2022
Four US troops were injured on Thursday after rockets hit a base housing American forces in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ez-zur.
The American troops are being treated for minor injuries and evaluated for traumatic brain injury after a Thursday indirect fire attack on the Green Village base in eastern Syria, according to a release from Operative Inherent Resolve.
The rockets struck two support buildings at the Green Village base, which is run by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-allied, Kurdish-led militant group.
“At this time, four US service members are being evaluated for minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
The base was previously attacked in January, with eight rockets landing inside the perimeter.
The issue of traumatic brain injuries in US Central Command has gained more and more attention in the past two years, following Iran’s missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad Air Base in Jan. 2020. Pentagon officials initially reported no casualties, but subsequent screenings in the following weeks found that more than 100 troops had suffered TBIs, Military Times reported.
When asked about the attack during a press conference, then-President Donald Trump downplayed the seriousness of head injuries.
“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things,” he said at the time, later offering amputations as an example of a more concerning injury. “But I would say, and I can report, that it is not very serious.”
The reporting and tracking of those injuries came under the scrutiny of the Defense Department’s inspector general in July 2020, when the office launched a project to evaluate how doctors diagnosed, treated and reported TBIs up the chain of command.
Based on the as-yet-unreleased results of the first project, a DoD IG spokeswoman told Military Times in October, the IG launched a second evaluation to dig deeper.
The attack come amid growing anti-US sentiments over Washington’s military and political adventurism in the region and coincided with the second martyrdom anniversary of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Suleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq.
General Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi comrade Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were martyred along with their companions in the drone strike, authorized by former president Donald Trump, near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in defeating the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Five days after the assassination, in a military operation codenamed Operation Martyr Suleimani, the IRGC launched a volley of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad airbase.
Iran said the missile strike was only a “first slap” in its process of taking “hard revenge” and that it would not rest until the US military leaves the Middle East in disgrace.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Other Palestinian Groups Threaten Violence Outside the Temple Walls: Rev 11
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Other Palestinian Groups Threaten Violence During Ramadan – ‘The Month Of Jihad And Martyrdom’
April 6, 2022
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 9881
Amid the current escalation of terror attacks in Israel, and as the month of Ramadan begins, officials in Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) threaten a large-scale and imminent explosion of violence. This explosion, they say, will take place on all the fronts – in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in the “1948 territories” – and will be “more powerful and painful” for Israel. The officials also reiterated numerous times that Ramadan is the month of jihad, martyrdom and great conquests in Islam.
Hamas official Khaled Mash’al stated that the coming period will be difficult for Israel and “will hold surprises.” PIJ official Ahmad Al-Mudallal said that Israel’s fears regarding Ramadan are being realized.
Warnings about an upcoming widescale violent conflict were also expressed by columnist Rajab Abu Sariya in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam. He wrote that this confrontation would be very difficult to prevent and likewise emphasized that Ramadan is the month in which the most glorious jihad takes place. His suggestions of ways for Israel to prevent confrontation included easing restrictions on the Palestinians, granting Muslims freedom of worship in Jerusalem during Ramadan, refraining from provocation, and creating a path for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The following are examples of threats and warnings by Hamas and PIJ leaders as well as excerpts from Abu Sariya’s column:
Hamas Official Khaled Mash’al: “The Month Of Ramadan Will Be Difficult And Will Hold Surprises”
An article posted on the Hamas website on March 30, 2022, stated: “The leader of the Hamas movement abroad, Khaled Mash’al, said that the coming month of Ramadan will be difficult and will hold surprises, because the enemy is trying to enforce quiet in exchange for nothing, while continuing its raids and attacks. He emphasized that the finger of the resistance is on the trigger, and that it [the resistance] is ready to repeat the Sword of Jerusalem [i.e. the May 2021 round of fighting in the Gaza Strip]. Mash’al also said, at a Wednesday [March 30] online conference titled ‘The Resistance Continues,’ held by the Jordanian Association for Support for the Resistance and the Defense of the Homeland: ‘We are not striving for war, but we will not abandon the land, Jerusalem, and the holy places.’
“Mash’al noted that the dates for remembering the battle of Karama [March 21], Land Day [March 30], and Sword of Jerusalem [May 10] prove that resistance is on the desired path and that there is no way but to fight. He pointed out that the previous day’s operation in Tel Aviv [the March 29 terrorist attack in Bnei Brak] proved that resistance is the desired path, and that it had conveyed a sufficiently clear message about normalization and negotiation [with Israel]. He said that he believed in expelling the occupation, not as a wish but by means of attrition jihad and an ongoing struggle on all levels – politically, among the masses, and militarily.
“Mash’al stressed: ‘We have enough facts on the ground to sense with certainty the liberation of Palestine… and the clashes with the enemy in recent years prove that we are trending towards it, and that our enemy is trending downwards.’ Clarifying that ‘our people has an inventory of resistance that moves from one region to another, and from one generation to the next,’ he added that we ‘therefore witness resistance operations sometimes from Gaza, sometimes from the West Bank, and sometimes [within the] 1948 [lines].’ He noted that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has taught the [Islamic] nation a lesson – ‘that we must decide what we want without considering what they tell us,’ and added that ‘when you determine facts on the ground, everyone will submit to you, willingly or unwillingly.'”
Hamas Announcement: The Crimes Of The Occupation Will Lead To A Great Explosion; Ramadan Is The Month Of Jihad And Martyrdom
An announcement posted on the Hamas website on March 31, 2022, after two Palestinian operatives were killed in Jenin in an Israeli military roundup of wanted men, stated: “The arrogant enemy must know that the blood of our people does not come cheap, and that, in accordance with our obligation to the martyrs, Hamas will continue on the path of resistance, with fighting the occupation and defending our people, whatever the sacrifices.”
The announcement stressed: “The ongoing crimes of the occupation threaten [to bring on] a more powerful all-out explosion that will cause [the occupation] more pain, and in which our people across our occupied land will participate. This is the promise of the seekers of freedom. The locomotive of liberation has already set out, by virtue of the heroic revolutionaries, and will never go back.”
It continued: “We welcome the blessed month of Ramadan, the month of jihad, martyrdom, and mighty victories. We strengthen the hands of our heroes who are rising up in all the cities and refugee camps, first and foremost Jerusalem, and stress [that there will be] continued resistance to the occupation and to its settlers, by all possible means, until liberation and return.”
Wishes For The Days Of Ramadan To Be Days Of Deployment On The Battlefront And Of Resistance
An April 1, 2022 Hamas announcement on the website, marking Ramadan, stated: “We congratulate our people and our nation on the occasion of the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan, and express a wish for the days of Ramadan to be days of good deeds, deployment on the battlefront [ribat], and resistance to expel the occupation and defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa [mosque].
“The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, extends sincere greetings for the blessed month of Ramadan to the masses of our Palestinian people wherever they may be – in the occupied land, in occupied Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the diaspora, and in the refugee camps. [We extend these greetings also] to our heroic prisoners, men and women, in the prisons of the occupation; to the families of the martyrs; to the wounded and the prisoners; and to the Arab and Islamic nation. May Allah grant our people and our nation[the opportunity] to celebrate [this holiday] again, with greater unity, cohesion, solidarity, and collective activity in the service of the affairs of our [Islamic] nation, and first and foremost the matter of justice for our Palestinian people.
“Under the auspices of the blessed month of Ramadan, the month of giving, jihad, and victories, and at a time when we remember the milestones of conflict with the enemy and the attainment of victory over it in this mighty month – the most recent of which was the Sword of Jerusalem battle, in which our people gained victory for Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa… – we, in the Hamas movement, encourage the masses of our people to continue to come to the Al-Aqsa mosque and to remain there. May the days and nights of Ramadan be [days and nights] of good deeds, deployment on the battlefront, and resistance to the occupation and the flocks of the settlers on all our occupied lands, to herald the expulsion of the occupation from our blessed land…”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Official: Today, Israel’s Fear Of Ramadan Is Coming True
Palestinian Islamic Jihad official Ahmad Al-Mudallal said, in a speech at a PIJ military procession in Rafah on April 2, 2022, following the Israeli forces’ killing, in ‘Arabeh in the Jenin province that day, of three PIJ terrorists on their way to perpetrate an attack inside Israel, that the blood spilled on the soil of ‘Arabeh on the morning of the first day of Ramadan would spark the next battle.
Al-Mudallal added: “Between us and the occupation, there is a missile, a rifle, a stone, and a knife. Across the homeland, there is a situation of conflict and ongoing battle whose flames will not die down… The occupation fears Ramadan, and today this fear is becoming reality. The occupation must expect the worst from our resistance fighters; America will not protect it, and neither will the [Arab] regimes of normalization [with Israel] or the security coordination [with the Palestinian Authority].”
Addressing the Israeli public, he said: “They deceived you when they brought you to this land of butter [sic] and honey, the land of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. The heroic martyr Diaa [Hamarsha, who carried out the March 29 Bnei Brak attack], treated you in accordance with our Islamic values. If you insist on remaining [on our land], and if you love life, beware, lest you be the harvest of this battle, if the killing of our children and women and the destruction of our homes continue. You have no other option but to leave, because this land is ours, Jerusalem is ours, and Al-Aqsa belongs to us.”
The online daily Raialyoum.com reported on April 4, citing sources within the PIJ, that the movement’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, is on high alert in anticipation of a confrontation with Israel, as part of which it has set up long-range missile launchers and prepared to confront Israeli forces in the West Bank. The report added that an operations room has been set up in the Jenin and Nablus area to coordinate between the military wings of the PIJ and Fatah.
Poster circulated by PIJ Military Wing: “Ramadan – The Month of Jihad and [Military] Preparation” (Source: Saraya.ps, April 1, 2022)
Palestinian Journalist: Ramadan Is The Month Of Conquests And Jihad; There Is Little Chance Of Preventing Confrontation
In his April 1, 2022 column in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam, Rajab Abu Sariya assessed that, in light of Israeli policy, chances of a confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians during the current month of Ramadan were very high. Noting that, even before the start of Ramadan, there had been two substantial terrorist attacks in Israel in response to Israeli policy, he added that Ramadan is famously known in Islam as the month of important conquests glorious jihad. He wrote: “The fact that Land Day passed without escalation [on the ground] means that the first date that the Israeli security apparatuses [were concerned about] has passed, [but] several more days are coming that are likely to lead to confrontations because of their importance to the Muslims. Among these are Prisoners Day, the anniversary of the March of Return [i.e., the 2018–19 Gaza border protests], as well as the first anniversary of the Sword of Jerusalem campaign, which Israel refers to as Operation Guardian of the Walls.
“Israel held contacts, and its senior officials had numerous meetings and conversations with the Palestinian and Jordanian leadership, to contend with the possibility that confrontations will break out in Jerusalem and spread to all the surrounding Palestinian areas during the blessed month of Ramadan. Several senior Israeli officials met with the Palestinian president and the King of Jordan to attempt to contain the anticipated situation. And if that was not enough, Israel also made numerous decisions and took many measures to strengthen its security presence…
“Despite this, signs in the recent days do not indicate that the occupation is capable of containing the situation, either by reinforcing its military presence or through the humanitarian gestures it has made or by [the easing the Palestinians’] everyday lives… It will not be possible to avoid bloody confrontations during Ramadan as long as the Israeli government allows offending the religious sensibilities of the Muslims – specifically considering the Jewish holiday of Passover will coincide with the blessed month of Ramadan, and then the Israeli government will allow the settlers to breach the Al-Aqsa compound, which belongs to the Muslims, and will even protect them as they do so. At the same time, it will limit the number of Muslim worshippers [allowed into Al-Aqsa] and their ages, and persecute the Murabitoun, in addition to the endless steps taken by the occupation to persecute [the Palestinian] families in their homes…
“The truth is that Israel has not managed [to contain the situation] and Ramadan hasn’t even started yet. It is well known that during this month an aura of faith envelops the souls of the Muslims who fast, and during it the most important conquests and raids were achieved, and therefore the most glorious jihad takes place during this month. Israel has already been dealt two severe blows in Hadera and Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan [sic]. This indicates that what happened [in Ramadan] last year will not compare to what is likely to occur this year, and the main thing is that Israel will face all the Palestinians together, in all the arenas. In other words, it won’t be able to separate [the Palestinians] in Jerusalem from those in the West Bank, Gaza and the ’48 [territories, i.e., the Israeli Arabs], as it hopes to, and as it has always done throughout its history…
“Even the war between Russia and Ukraine will not manage to divert attention from the confrontation which is likely to break out, despite all the cautionary measures and the arrangements made in advance [in order to prevent it]. Even the [numerous recent] meetings which are a follow-up to the normalization agreements [between Israel and several Arab countries], the most recent of which was the meeting in Sharm Al-Sheikh [between Egyptian President ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, UAE Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett]… did not prevent the outbreak of the confrontation… Therefore, it seems that avoiding a confrontation, at least [as severe as] the confrontations in previous years, will be very difficult…
“In our estimation, there are two minimal steps that [Israel] can take, in addition to easing the restrictions on everyday life, that might prevent the confrontation. The first is allow complete freedom of worship to Muslims in Jerusalem during Ramadan, and at the same time prevent every kind of extremist provocations and infiltration [of the Al-Asa compound] by Jews and settlers. The second is to pave the way to a political dialogue in preparation for an international or regional conference, in order to create a prospect for a political solution. In the absence of these, the month of Ramadan and the period following it this year will be an opportunity to ignite the fire which is destined to break out in the end, sooner or later…”
Russian Use Of Tactical Nuclear Weapons A Real Possibility: Revelation 16
A Russian missile. Source: Russian Defence Ministry.
Ukrainian Experts: Russian Use Of Tactical Nuclear Weapons A Real Possibility – Analysis
By Kseniya Kirillova*
Following the March 29 round of Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations, held in Istanbul, a cautious optimism crept into the rhetoric of the Russian delegation. However, this was swiftly followed by harshly negative criticism in the Russian media that negotiations are happening at all. That sharp public rebuke, combined with revelations of Russian war crimes in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha (BBC News—Russian service, April 3), raised new doubts about whether any peaceful resolution to the conflict is possible at the moment. Given this, some Ukrainian experts fear that the risk of a Russian nuclear strike against Ukraine is increasing.
In the wake of the latest talks, in Istanbul, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the withdrawal of troops from Kyiv and Chernigovsky as a “goodwill gesture.” However, representatives of the Ukrainian side noted that the Russians were withdrawing because they could not achieve their goals near Kyiv (24tv.ua, March 29). The press secretary of the United States Department of Defense, John Kirby, underlined that the Pentagon viewed the Russian action as a repositioning of forces rather than a retreat, and the threat to Kyiv had not diminished (Twitter.com/DeptofDefense, March 29).
Regarding the possibility of concluding a peaceful settlement with Ukraine, the Russian media mounted a powerful campaign against any such initiative. A large number of propagandists and officials called the talks “traitorous” and “a surrender of national interests” (The Insider, March 29). Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov underscored the importance of finishing what was started—including, to take Kyiv and “destroy the Banderites, Nazis and devils” (Topwar.ru, March 29). Russian “experts” have begun to remind people that Moscow’s goal is a “profound de-Nazification” of the entire Ukrainian population, which is impossible without the power to control this process (RIA Novosti, April 3).
Because of this, the representative of the Russian delegation at the talks, Vladimir Medinskiy, along with State Duma (lower chamber of parliament) deputies were forced to justify the negotiating team’s actions and explain that their members “are not inclined to surrender” (Regnum, March 29). Nonetheless, the aggressive line of propaganda fired back that “the party of capitulation in Russia lacks perspective” (Nrus.info, April 2). Russian media rhetoric became even more belligerent after the mayor of Bucha, Anatoly Fedoruk, revealed evidence of hundreds of dead after Russian forces abandoned the Ukrainian town. He said that the streets of the town were strewn with corpses and showed photographs of the mutilated bodies of civilians, some of them with their hands tied (Krym.com, April 3).
In response, Russian outlets, following the defense ministry’s lead, claimed that the footage from the scene was staged. Prominent Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyev called the war crimes charges leveled at Moscow a provocation conducted by the United Kingdom, with the goal of “the complete destruction of Russia.” From this he concluded that it was time to “stop playing with the Nazis” in negotiations and “not interfere with the [Russian] army operating in all directions” (YouTube, April 3).
Against this background, some Ukrainian military experts have suggested that the risk of Russia employing nuclear or chemical weapons against Ukraine is growing. They noted that the Russian authorities are preparing the population for such a scenario and suggested that Moscow does not believe it will be held accountable for its actions (Defence-ua.com, April 2). The experts’ conclusion should be seen in tandem with examples of the extreme dehumanization of Ukrainians in the Russian media (RT, March 26) and Russia’s increasingly aggressive war propaganda, which render a peaceful resolution to the conflict unlikely.
Meanwhile, sociologists report record growth of popular support for President Vladimir Putin (Levada.ru, March 30), and insiders write that Western sanctions have rallied the Russian elites around their president (Faridaily, March 31). Regardless of the accuracy of such evaluations, they may create in Putin’s mind the illusion that the population and the elite will approve of anything he does. At the same time, to maintain the spirit of mobilization, the Kremlin needs military victories that it cannot achieve by conventional means.
Ukrainian military specialist Anton Mikhnenko noted, in an interview with this author on April 2, that Putin has no political reason to deliver a nuclear strike, since, in such an event, he would lose even the support of China and other non-European countries. However, in a military sense, the Russian elites may consider such an outcome quite conceivable, given that the psychological barrier against the use of tactical nuclear weapons, unlike strategic ones, has already been removed.
“One of the signs indicating that they have decided to launch a nuclear strike could be the deployment of radiological, chemical and biological protection units to the territory of Ukraine, which would ensure the subsequent disinfection of the contaminated territory before the Russian troops go on the offensive,” the Ukrainian analyst believes. However, Mikhnenko admited that such an offensive may not happen if Putin does not plan to seize the entire territory of the country but only hopes to break the resistance of the Ukrainians so that they abandon the regions already captured by Russia (Author’s interview, April 2).
Another Ukrainian expert, Valery Ryabykh, the director of the information and consulting firm Defense Express, suggested that, presently, the likelihood of such a strike is low–medium, but could increase if the West does not demonstrate a readiness to take adequate action in response (Forum Daily, March 31). Belarusian analyst Yuriy Tsarik warns of a similar scenario, noting that such a demonstrative strike might even be carried out on Belarusian territory (Gazetaby.com, March 4).
At the same time, however, Russian opposition politician, former political prisoner and former head of the oil company Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, suggested that the risk of a tactical nuclear strike in Ukrainian territory is diminishing because there are problems between Putin and his army. “Putin must understand that if he orders someone to press the red button and the military does not carry out his order, they would have to kill him in order not to be labeled traitors,” Khodorkovsky reasoned. According to him, US President Joseph Biden’s declaration that, in the event of the use of chemical or nuclear weapons, Putin would receive an “adequate response” may also dampen the resolve of the Russian president, since it creates additional uncertainty for him. On the contrary, statements by some European leaders that they “will not go to war under any circumstances” could boost Putin’s sense of impunity (Author’s interview, April 2). Coordinated signaling by the Western alliance will be pivotal in the coming days and weeks.
*About the author: Kseniya Kirillova is an investigative journalist and analyst focused on analyzing Russian society and mechanisms of action of Russian propaganda (including in the US) along with Russian “soft power,” “active measures” and foreign policy.
Source: This article was published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 19 Issue: 48Click here to have Eurasia Review’s newsletter delivered via RSS, as an email newsletter, via mobile or on your personal news page.
Time is Running Out: Revelation 16
An Age of Existential Uncertainty
April 6, 2022
I grew up during the Cold War, when, in elementary school, we still participated in bomb drills. A bell would ring or horn would blow and we would duck and cover, or in some teachers’ classrooms, just put our heads down on our desks.
From the videos of utter destruction caused by nuclear weapons, I couldn’t see how any of these drills would be helpful (apparently duck and cover did offer some protection). I simply assumed it would be better to be resting when I died than not.
Although we lived in a small Louisiana town, in the middle of nowhere really, we were about 30 minutes away from Barksdale Air Force Base, where President George W. Bush would, years later, take refuge after the attacks on 9/11. As children, it felt like we were in the military arena, particularly every time the jets overhead latticed the skies with contrails or produced a sonic boom.
Even people of modest means in the area built bomb shelters. Armageddon was in the air.
America and the Soviet Union were locked in the doctrine of mutually assured destruction: There were so many nuclear weapons that if one side used them to launch an attack, we were told the other would immediately respond, prompting the annihilation of both countries and possibly the world.
This idea offered some assurance, but not enough. The idea that a mistake could be made lingered like a combustible fume. It haunted. In the popular 1983 film “WarGames,” a high school hacker accidentally connects with NORAD computers, and, thinking he’s simply playing a game, almost instigates a nuclear war.
I find it hard to explain to younger people what it felt like to live all my formative years with such uncertainty, with the belief that the world might end at any moment. I don’t know how to explain what it felt like to fill a time capsule in the sixth grade and bury it, not just as a classroom exercise, but with the gnawing feeling that all we knew could be obliterated and that all that future generations might ever know of us could be contained in a single capsule.
Fear became so ambient that it became ordinary; it was defanged. The fear wasn’t debilitating. To the contrary, it seemed to produce a sense of bucket-list adventurousness, even among children. What would you do if the world could end tomorrow? It was simultaneously oppressive and liberating.
Then, in 1991, when I was nearly at the end of college, the Soviet Union collapsed and splintered, and the Cold War came to an abrupt end. That is around when Ukraine and other former Soviet republics became independent states.
That is also, I believe, the last time I thought seriously about mutually assured destruction.
After three decades of freedom from that kind of worry, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, still smarting over the demise of the Soviet Union, has reminded us that many of the nuclear weapons that once terrified us still exist, putting real limits on our ability to confront and control rogue behavior.
In an interview that aired in December, Putin lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, which he had previously called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. “It was a disintegration of historical Russia,” he said in the interview. “We turned into a completely different country. And what had been built up over 1,000 years was largely lost.”
Putin wants that back. The invasion of Ukraine is part of that vision.
Putin confessed in the interview that not long after the fall of the Soviet Union, when inflation in Russia reached double digits, he sometimes moonlighted as a taxi driver to supplement his income. “It is unpleasant to talk about this,” he said, “but, unfortunately, this also took place.”
Now, he has reversed the humiliation of those hard times. Some experts believe that he could now be the wealthiest man in the world. I believe this makes the 69-year-old more dangerous, not less.
Putin now has little need of the shallow pleasure he’d get gathering unto himself more material objects than he already owns. Instead, he may now be consumed by the thing that preoccupies many of the world’s greatest men and women late in life: the building of legacy, the making of history, the casting of a long shadow.
Putin doesn’t just want to win a war or take a region, he wants to make a point, he wants to be the wings on which Russia rises again. His ego feeds his aggression, and that is why it is hard to imagine him accepting a loss in Ukraine.
Any form of victory for him will only add to his appetite. Why would he stop with Ukraine, or a portion of Ukraine?
And, of course, the West is restrained by the fact that Russia is not only a nuclear power, with roughly 6,000 nuclear warheads, but it also has the world’s largest nuclear stockpile, an arsenal even larger than that of the United States.
Putin keeps gesturing at the possibility of using those weapons. Those may be hollow threats, but it’s impossible to be 100 percent sure.
What I feel more sure of is this feeling I can’t shake: that we are drifting into a new age of existential uncertainty.