said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”
“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”
This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.
“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”
It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.
About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.
In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2
, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2
from an earthquake of similar magnitude.
“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”
Al-Qaeda Says It Would Use Pakistani Nuclear Weapons
DUBAI (Reuters) — If it were in a position to do so, Al-Qaeda would use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in its fight against the United States, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired on June 21.
Pakistan has been battling Al-Qaeda’s Taliban allies in the Swat Valley since April after their thrust into a district 100 kilometers northwest of the capital raised fears the nuclear-armed country could slowly slip into militant hands.
“God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahedin would take them and use them against the Americans,” Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of Al-Qaeda’s in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television.
Abu al-Yazid was responding to a question about U.S. safeguards to seize control over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in case Islamist fighters came close to doing so.
“We expect that the Pakistani army would be defeated [in Swat]…and that would be its end everywhere, God willing.”
Asked about the group’s plans, the Egyptian militant leader said: “The strategy of the [Al-Qaeda] organization in the coming period is the same as in the previous period: to hit the head of the snake, the head of tyranny — the United States.
“That can be achieved through continued work on the open fronts and also by opening new fronts in a manner that achieves the interests of Islam and Muslims and by increasing military operations that drain the enemy financially.”
The militant leader suggested that naming a new leader for the group’s unit in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Basir al-Wahayshi, could revive its campaign in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.
“Our goals have been the Americans…and the oil targets which they are stealing to gain power to strike the mujahedin and Muslims.”
“There was a setback in work there for reasons that there is no room to state now, but as of late, efforts have been united and there is unity around a single leader.”
Abu al-Yazid, also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri, said Al-Qaeda will continue “with large scale operations against the enemy” — by which he meant the United States.
“We have demanded and we demand that all branches of Al-Qaeda carry out such operations,” he said, referring to attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The militant leader said Al-Qaeda would be willing to accept a truce of about 10 years’ duration with the United States if Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Muslim countries and stopped backing Israel and the pro-Western governments of Muslim nations.
Asked about the whereabouts of al Qaeda’s top leaders, he said: “Praise God, sheikh Osama [bin Laden] and sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri are safe from the reach of the enemies, but we would not say where they are; moreover, we do not know where they are, but we’re in continuous contact with them.”
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s senior aide says that Iran has conducted several drills to strike deep into Israel in case their arch-enemy opts to ‘target our sensitive facilities’
Jul 17, 2022 5:00 PM
Iran has the technical capabilities to manufacture a nuclear bomb, Kamal Kharazi, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told Al Jazeera on Sunday, but stressed that Tehran has yet to decide whether to develop such weapons.
Kharazi, who heads the leader’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, added that Iran has conducted several drills to strike deep into Israel in the event that their regional rival opted to “target our sensitive facilities.”
The last week saw an escalation between the U.S. and Iran, as President Joe Biden visited Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia in a whirlwind tour, with Iran imposing sanctions against former U.S. officials and showcasing armed drones to their Russian allies.
During the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that he told Biden that the country would maintain freedom of action against Iran, though he said that he would support a “good” nuclear deal.
Kharazi welcomed Saudi Arabia’s warm overtures to Iran, even as Biden visited the kingdom, and expressed a willingness for rapprochement with the other Gulf superpower. However, he struck a defiant tone against the nuclear talks, stating that Tehran’s “missile program and our regional policy” are not up for negotiations.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will decide in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.
Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat by saying that there could be no more talk of a “nuclear free” Baltic – where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917 and fought two wars against it during World War Two during which it lost some territory. On Thursday, Finland announced a military exercise in Western Finland with the participation of Britain, the United States, Latvia and Estonia.
Sweden has not fought a war for 200 years. Foreign policy has focused on supporting democracy and nuclear disarmament.
Kaliningrad, formerly the port of Koenigsberg, capital of East Prussia, lies less than 1,400 km from London and Paris and 500 km from Berlin.
Russia said in 2018 it had deployed Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which was captured by the Red Army in April 1945 and ceded to the Soviet Union at the Potsdam conference.
The Iskander, known as SS-26 Stone by NATO, is a short-range tactical ballistic missile system that can carry nuclear warheads. Its official range is 500 km but some Western military sources suspect it may be much greater.
“No sane person wants higher prices and higher taxes, increased tensions along borders, Iskanders, hypersonics and ships with nuclear weapons literally at arm’s length from their own home,” Medvedev said.
“Let’s hope that the common sense of our northern neighbours will win.”
Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said Russia had deployed nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad even before the war.
“Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad … the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this,” Anusauskas was quoted as saying by BNS. “They use it as a threat.”
Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions and raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the United States – by far the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.
Putin says the “special military operation” in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people.
Ukraine says it is fighting an imperial-style land grab and that Putin’s claims of genocide are nonsense. U.S. President Joe Biden says Putin is a war criminal and a dictator.
Putin says the conflict in Ukraine as part of a much broader confrontation with the United States which he says is trying to enforce its hegemony even as its dominance over the international order declines.
Alternatives to direct South Korean/Japanese nuclear deterrence of North Korean WMDs are soft. Extended nuclear deterrence is weakly credible if it means nuked U.S. cities to defend South Korea or Japan. Missile defense does not work well enough to provide a roof against as many weapons North Korea appears to be building. China will not take serious action to stop Pyongyang. A negotiated deal—the best solution and hence discussed at length below—might control Pyongyang’s programs somewhat via missile or warhead limits or inspector access. But North Korea seems unwilling to negotiate seriously, is an untrustworthy counterparty, is unlikely to cut enough to relieve the existential threat its WMDs now pose to South Korea and Japan, and would demand exorbitant counter-concessions as payment.
This would not be the first time the United States has tacitly accepted another country’s nuclearization. Ostensibly, the United States has supported the NPT for decades. In practice though, Washington tolerates at least five other states—Britain, France, Israel, India, and Pakistan—being unwilling to build down their stockpiles. Using the vague standard implied by these examples—friendship with the United States; reasonable state capacity; and at least theoretically, democratic rule—South Korea and Japan more than clear the bar for what is effectively a U.S. NPT exemption.
China, Russia, and North Korea already possess nuclear weapons and show no signs of building down. So there is no regional nuclearization cascade for South Korea or Japan to provoke, because it has already happened. . And Taiwanese nuclearization is unlikely, as Taiwanese elites are quite aware that their nuclearization would provoke China.
A missile is fired.
Next, there is an under-discussed NPT downside: It provokes the alliance-debilitating, “New York for Paris” debates mentioned above. If U.S. allies do not nuclearize and must rely on U.S. nuclear weapons for nuclear deterrence, then they will inevitably questionwhether the United States will use those weapons in their defense if that might incur a retaliatory nuclear strike on the U.S. homeland. The answer to that question is almost certainly no, as then-French President Charles de Gaullerealized 61 years ago. The easiest way to reduce this bitter, alliance-undermining dissension is to let U.S. allies self-insure via indigenous nuclearization.
Finally, South Korean/Japanese nuclearization could serve shared regional interests by providing supplemental, local deterrence (as British and French nukes did during the Cold War) and by improving alliance burden-sharing. Further, the threat of South Korean/Japanese nuclearization might finally prompt Pyongyang and Beijing to take North Korean denuclearization negotiations seriously. Should South Korea and Japan respect the NPT and Global Zero plan while China, Russia, and North Korea do as they will, the effective outcome is unilateral disarmament. This is politically and strategically infeasible; we regrettably live in a world of persistent nuclear armament.
Ostensibly, South Korea and Japan are not competing in this race—but only because they outsource their nuclear deterrence to the United States. Extended deterrence does not remove the U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliance on WMDs from the East Asian security discussion. It only means they are not located in-theater. That may have value in keeping China from building more WMDs (although it is already doing so) or Russia from playing the nuclear card in the region as it does in Europe. But it is not stopping North Korea. And that is the core issue—always and again.
North Korea will not sign a deal that reduces its arsenal enough to reduce the strategic threat that brought Yoon to float preemption earlier this year. Even if Pyongyang signed a deal—and did not cheat—it would never cut deeply enough to obviate the existential threat it now poses to Japan and South Korea. Nuclear weapons are an excellent deterrent for North Korea, and tactically, they help equalize the conventional military competition with the South and the United States, where Pyongyang lags behind. Complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization is fantasy.
With Trump, Pyongyang had the best U.S. president ever for its interests. Trump loathed South Korea. He knew little about Korean history, nuclear weapons, or ballistic missiles; according to former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, Trump did not even prepare for his summits with Kim. Trump did not care about the U.S. position in East Asia and disliked U.S. allies generally. He desperately wanted to sign a peace deal with Kim to win a Nobel Peace Prize and help his reelection bid while Moon came from a South Korean left that has often been eager to engage with Pyongyang.
It is hard to imagine better counterparties to whom Kim might have made some genuine concessions with to receive large counter-concessions. Instead, Kim’s one serious offer to Trump, at Hanoi in 2019, was very unbalanced. Kim offered to shutter one aging nuclear plant for full sanctions removal. Even Trump realized this was a bad deal, and talks collapsed.
If allied democracies want nuclear weapons, if their foreign-policy elites and voters decide to take this step, then the United States should accept that this is their choice. As a liberal alliance leader, the United States should not tell its partners what to do nor what they may even debate. South Korean/Japanese interest in WMDs is defensive, in good faith, and follows decades of restraint; it is obviously not offensively intended. The United States should want its allies to take greater responsibility, develop deep national security doctrines, spend more, stop turning to America for foreign-policy direction, and so on. Indeed, Yoon recognizes that in the very title of his Foreign Affairs article for the 2022 South Korean presidential election: “South Korea Needs to Step Up.” Precisely.
No one wants more nuclearization if avoidable. The decision is momentous, and I do not endorse it. Ideally, arms control with North Korea would alleviate some risk, as would missile defense, while extended deterrence and Chinese resistance could encourage North Korea to slow down.
But these options are all poor and getting worse. The United States will not fight a nuclear war solely for its allies, a point which American analysts should be honest with even if U.S. officials dance around it. Direct South Korean/Japanese deterrence is increasingly a better option than these alternatives, and the United States should at least allow its allies to debate the issue without strong-arming them.
“Fighter jets struck a military site in the central Gaza Strip belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization. The military site consists of an underground complex containing raw materials used for the manufacturing of rockets,” an army statement said.
Witnesses said the site is used as a training camp.
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on 18 November 2021. [Karar Essa – Anadolu Agency]
July 16, 2022 at 10:11 am
Leader of the Iraqi political Sadrist Movement Muqtada Al-Sadr on Friday called for “dissolving all armed factions” in the country during the Friday sermon in Sadr City, as reported by Iraqi News Agency (INA).
Al-Sadr stressed: “The Popular Mobilisation Forces must be reorganised and kept away from external interference.” He noted: “It is not possible to form a strong government with the presence of disordered weapons and militias.”
He pointed out: “Most politicians have external orientations, and the supreme reference has closed its door to all politicians. If they want to form a government, they must commit to removing the occupation, and the first steps of repentance are to hold their corrupt members accountable without hesitation.”
According to the government, Daesh executed around 2,000 students at the Aviation College and security personnel inside a military base known as Speicher in Salah Al-Din Governorate when it took control of the area in June 2014 during Al-Maliki’s mandate.
Al-Sadr addressed former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki without naming him, warning: “Do not try to attack the experienced so that the Speicher massacre is not repeated.”