While nowhere near to the extent of the West Coast, damaging earthquakes can and do affect much of the eastern half of the country.
For example, across the Tennesse River Valley lies the New Madrid Fault Line. While much smaller in size than those found farther west, the fault has managed to produce several earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the last couple hundred years.
In 1886, an estimated magnitude 7.0 struck Charleston, South Carolina along a previously unknown seismic zone. Nearly the entire town had to be rebuilt.
The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.
These older rocks have had much more time to bond together with other rocks under the tremendous pressure of Earth’s crust. This allows seismic energy to transfer between rocks more efficiently during an earthquake, causing the shaking to be felt much further.
This is why, during the latest quake in North Carolina, impacts were felt not just across the state, but reports of shaking came as far as Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 300 miles away.
Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.
When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011, not only were numerous historical monuments in Washington, D.C. damaged, shaking was reported up and down the East Coast with tremors even reported in Canada.
There is no way to accurately predict when or where an earthquake may strike.
Some quakes will have a smaller earthquake precede the primary one. This is called a foreshock.
The problem is though, it’s difficult to say whether the foreshock is in fact a foreshock and not the primary earthquake. Only time will tell the difference.
The United State Geological Survey (USGS) is experimenting with early warning detection systems in the West Coast.
While this system cannot predict earthquakes before they occur, they can provide warning up to tens of seconds in advance that shaking is imminent. This could provide just enough time to find a secure location before the tremors begin.
Much like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, earthquakes are a natural occuring phenomenon that we can prepare for.
The USGS provides an abundance of resources on how to best stay safe when the earth starts to quake.
Tensions in the impoverished, war-scarred country have escalated over the inability of political factions to agree on formation of a government, 10 months after parliamentary elections.
Sadr once led an anti-US militia and has millions of devoted followers. Some of them stormed Iraq’s parliament late last month and began a sit-in, first inside the building and then on its grounds where thousands remain.
Mohaned al-Moussaoui, who is close to Sadr, said during his Friday sermon that the “political dialogue is only in the name of your political interests and supporters, and not in the interest of the people.”
Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on 18 November 2021 [Karar Essa/Anadolu Agency]
August 19, 2022 at 10:15 am
The Sadrist movement in Iraq has rejected the outcomes of the national dialogue meeting held on Wednesday at the invitation of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in search of a solution to end the country’s political deadlock.
Al-Iraqi added, “This secret meeting of yours does not concern us with anything” and “the people only want people like you to step down.”
Wednesday’s national dialogue meeting was attended by Al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi president, house speaker and the Supreme Judiciary as well as the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert.
The meeting’s outcomes included five points, most notably: calling on the Sadrist movement to engage in dialogue to set mechanisms for a comprehensive solution, agreeing to continue dialogue to develop a legal and constitutional road map to address the current crisis, and stopping all forms of field, media or political escalation.
Meanwhile, the National Coalition, headed by Iyad Allawi, expressed “regret” on Thursday that the coalition and other political forces had been excluded from the national dialogue meeting.
“The meeting excluded the majority of the national political, social and professional parties and representatives of the demonstrations,” the coalition said in a statement.
Tensions have flared in Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani as the new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran.
This comes after 73 lawmakers from Al-Sadr’s movement resigned from the 329-seat parliament in June after it failed to form a “national majority” government, as the Coordination Framework hampered the Cabinet formation.
Few can predict how the current crisis will resolve itself. Many fear that the deployment of armed forces by the different factions around Baghdad could auger the beginning of a civil war. So far, however, the different political leaders have stepped back from escalation, and there have been some tentative attempts at negotiations.
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has over the past two decades been one of the most powerful political forces in Iraq. Originally the leader of armed forces opposed to the US-led occupation, he has established himself as a nationalist and opponent of the establishment, despite many of his followers having held government positions.
Sadr’s father, Mohammed Sadiq, and father-in-law, Mohammed Baqir, were both highly influential clerics, and their faces regularly adorn placards and banners of Sadrists and other religious and political factions in Iraq. Both were killed by Saddam Hussein and are regarded as martyrs and advocates of the poor by many Shia.
Sadr himself has built a following among much of the socially conservative poor and working-class of Iraq, as well as with those opposed to the influence of Iran and the US. His base of support in Baghdad is in the sprawling Sadr City, named after his relatives, but he commands widespread influence throughout the country.
For many years after the overthrow of his erstwhile enemy Saddam, Sadr led his Mahdi Army in an armed rebellion against the coalition forces occupying the country. He would later reform the Mahdi Army into Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) and become involved in parliamentary politics, calling for an end to corruption, the dismantling of the militias and technocratic reform of the country’s economy.
His Sairoon party came first in October’s parliamentary elections (though most Iraqis did not vote), and since then he had attempted to push for the formation of what he called a “majority government” along with Sunni and Kurdish allies.
However, he was unable to secure enough support among other parliamentarians to secure the formation of a government, and in June, in a supposed attempt to break the deadlock, Sadr ordered his MPs to withdraw from the assembly.
The ongoing occupation of the Iraqi parliament, which started on 30 July, nominally came in response to the nomination of Muhammad Shia al-Sudani as a potential prime minister by the Shia Coordination Framework, the alliance of parties that have held sway in the parliament since Sadr’s MPs withdrew.
Sudani was a minister in the government of Sadr’s arch-rival, Nouri al-Maliki, and saw his nomination as an afront.
Sadr is currently demanding the dissolution of the parliament and the announcement of new elections. His armed Saraya al-Salam organisation has deployed around the parliament, although he has stressed that he wants to avoid a violent confrontation.
The leader of the Badr Organisation armed faction and the Iran-backed Fatah coalition in parliament, Ameri has long been seen as Iran’s main man in Iraq, at least since the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January 2020.
Ameri has remained loyal to Iran for decades, even fighting on the side of the Islamic Republic in the Iran-Iraq war of the 80s. The Badr Organisation swept into Iraq following Saddam’s overthrow in 2003 and quickly embedded itself in much of the post-Baathist state, being accused of torture and carrying out sectarian killings of Sunnis.
In 2014, it joined the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces as part of the fight against the Islamic State group (IS). Badr was again accused of involvement in sectarian reprisals by rights organisations.
Despite his hardline credentials, Ameri has attempted to present himself as a moderate voice in the current dispute.
Fatah is one of the leading parties of the Coordination Framework. Though the Framework has said it is not opposed in principle to new elections, it has demanded a transitional government in the meantime and set a number of conditions on the future polls.
Fatah had poor results in October’s election, so many are wary of rushing into a new vote that could prove even more damaging for them.
Unlike some of his colleagues in the Coordination Framework, Ameri has pushed for dialogue between the different parties and has held numerous meetings aimed at trying to break the impasse. Ameri’s supporters have also not taken part in counter-protests organised by some other factions against the Sadrist occupation of Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Ameri was among those who attended a “national dialogue” meeting on 17 August aimed at solving the problem through negotiations, though with no Sadrist representative attending, it is unlikely that there will be a resolution any time soon.
Compared to his Coordination Framework ally Ameri, Khazali and the armed Asaib Ahl al-Haq organisation that he heads have adopted a much more confrontational approach towards Sadr.
Khazali was a one-time supporter of Sadr until he was expelled from the ranks of the Mahdi Army in 2004, reportedly after he failed to heed an order from Sadr to hold to a ceasefire with the US forces.
He formed Asaib Ahl al-Haq in 2006, and the organisation has claimed responsibility for more than 6,000 attacks across Iraq against the US-led occupation forces and their allies. Asaib Ahl al-Haq is loyal to Iran and its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and was accused of involvement in suppressing and killing demonstrators during the 2019 anti-government protests in Iraq.
In January 2020, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Khazali were designated as terrorists by the US State Department.
Khazali and his supporters have traded barbs with Sadrists in recent weeks in a number of forums.
Sadr’s spokesperson, a figure known as Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi, has accused Khazali and Asaib Ahl al-Haq of thuggery and corruption across Iraq and said Khazali was part of an “evil trinity” along with former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and their ally Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Hikma movement.
Many feared that there could be a violent confrontation between Coordination Framework forces and the Sadrists on 20 August, after they announced a counter-demonstration against a planned protest by Sadr. However, Sadr later called off the protest after he claimed that certain groups were intent on stoking a “civil war” in Iraq.
The former prime minister struggled for a long time to recover his reputation after he was widely blamed for failing to prevent the takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State group in 2014, and he is often accused of overseeing and even stoking the sectarianism and cronyism that preceded it.
A staunch ally of both the US and Iran, Maliki ruled the country from 2006 to 2014, overseeing the withdrawal of American forces and then their swift return after the rise of IS. His reign became notorious for corruption, with billions of dollars disappearing from the country’s coffers.
In the October 2021 elections his State of Law coalition managed to secure the third-highest number of seats in the parliament, and as part of the Coordination Framework he has been looking to make a political comeback.
This has helped stoke tensions with Sadr, who despises Maliki for leading a deadly 2007 crackdown on his Mahdi Army. The problem worsened after the release of a leaked audio tape last month in which Maliki was purportedly heard to describe Sadr as “bloodthirsty” and a “coward” whose political ambitions would destroy Iraq.
Following the leak of the tape, Sadr demanded that Maliki leave politics entirely, and since then the confrontational stance between the two has only worsened, with the former premier being seen brandishing weapons in defiance at Sadr’s takeover of the parliament.
Kadhimi, who became prime minister in May 2020 in the wake of anti-government protests, has remained in his position since the October elections as Iraq’s parties have failed to form a government.
A former intelligence chief, Kadhimi initially promised he would tackle the power of the armed groups in Iraq and investigate the killings of more than 600 demonstrators during anti-government protests.
However, in the end he was able to achieve little, while armed groups stepped up attacks on US assets and even on Kadhimi’s own residence.
In an attempt to break the present deadlock, Kadhimi launched what he called a “national dialogue” process on 17 August. Although “several points” were reportedly agreed on by those attending, including Ameri and Maliki, the absence of a Sadrist representative means little has been achieved overall.
Nevertheless, Kadhimi has called on Sadr to join the process “to start a profound national dialogue and deliberation; to find solutions to the current political crisis,” according to a statement released by his office.
The most senior Shia cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is arguably also the most influential public figure in the country.
His pronouncements on public affairs over the past few decades, including his support for the democratic process, opposition to corruption and call to arms against the Islamic State, have been seen as crucial in preventing the state’s collapse.
The leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr did not attend the national dialogue meeting held yesterday afternoon at the invitation of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to end the country’s political deadlock, Anadolu Agency reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Kadhimi invited the country’s rival political leaders to attend a national meeting at the cabinet headquarters in Baghdad and to find a solution to the political deadlock as disputes escalated in the past weeks between Al-Sadr and his rivals from the Coordination Framework, an umbrella group of Shia parliamentary parties.
A number of Iraqi political leaders and top officials attended yesterday’s meeting in the presence of the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert, however, the Sadrist movement refused to attend.
Al-Sadr’s office said in a statement that “the Sadrist movement, with all its components and political figures, did not participate in the political dialogue called for by the Prime Minister today, neither directly nor indirectly.”
The coordination framework insist on forming a government headed by its pro- Iran candidate, Muhammad Shayya’ Al-Sudani, while the Sadrist movement insists on dissolving parliament and holding early elections.
Periodic bouts of aerial bombardments between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip have become a regular feature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the most recent spasm wasn’t between Israel and Hamas. Instead, it heralds the rise of an even more militant group: Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
This is as predictable as it is alarming. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories seized in 1967 — East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — with no political horizon for ending it, has ensured a steady radicalization among Palestinian factions. That’s a disaster not just for the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also for the Middle East and wider world.
The second Palestinian intifada, which broke out after what should have been the culmination of the Oslo peace process at the 2000 Camp David summit, radicalized both sides. Approximately 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis — both mostly civilians — were killed between late 2000 and early 2005.
Another casualty was the Israeli “peace camp” and the credibility of its Palestinian counterpart, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israeli politics turned to the hard right. Among Palestinians, Hamas, which rejected the peace process and championed armed struggle, became a contender for national leadership.
That set the stage for the Palestinian split in 2007 as the Palestinian Authority held on to the small areas of self-rule, mostly West Bank towns and cities, secured through the Oslo process in the 1990s, while Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip.
Since then, the peace process has been non-functional, and the two Palestinian factions have treated each other as mortal enemies.
Yet over time Hamas has ossified from the leader of armed Palestinian resistance into a kind of entrenched de facto government in Gaza, dependent on regular financial bailouts from Qatar while engaging in periodic aerial bombardment conflicts with Israel that have become less frequent and more opportunistic.
Conditions have long been ripe for the rise of a more radical faction, and the Iranian- backed PIJ has been vying for that role for years.
Hamas appears content to rule this open-air prison of misery, but the PIJ is increasingly usurping Hamas’s traditional role, by using Gaza as a launchpad for attacks on Israel not just from the strip itself but in the West Bank and Jerusalem. On Wednesday, the PA reported seizing two PIJ members with 17 kilograms of explosives in the West Bank city of Nablus.
This latest bout of radicalization of the Palestinian national movement may not be surprising, but that does not make it any less dangerous. And there is a great deal the outside world can and must do to contain and reverse it.
The PA and the PLO have been made to look ridiculous and ineffective as their policies of negotiations and security cooperation with Israel have resulted in no major gains since 1996. That’s a huge boon for all extremists.
Hamas has indicated it wants greater international recognition and to join the PLO. The international community should lay out a clear roadmap for the group to become a legitimate interlocutor, including Hamas’s acceptance of Palestinian treaty commitments such as the Oslo agreements and, even if the group will not disarm, at least abjure all forms of terrorism.
A significant effort to improve the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — and in Gaza without unduly strengthening Hamas by relying on international NGOs and UN agencies — in sectors such as health and education is essential. Hopelessness and despair make radicalization inevitable.
Finally, a horizon for liberation is essential. Israel should, at long last, formally recognize the Palestinian right to a genuinely independent state. The details can be left to future negotiations. But such a commitment would provide Palestinians with much-needed hope for eventual freedom.
Without such measures, just as Hamas rose to challenge the PLO, the PIJ will continue to bedevil and challenge Hamas, with increasing success. The death toll among Israelis and Palestinians will incrementally rise until the next, and inevitable, explosion of massive and sustained violence.
16:40, Thu, Aug 18, 2022 | UPDATED: 17:37, Thu, Aug 18, 2022
Putin’s mouthpiece threatens western world with nuclear strikes
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