Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast EarthquakesVirginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

Released: 

11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM USGS.gov

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,”

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.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes  are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“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.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more

about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

US, Russia, and the nuclear option: Revelation 16

Russia _ USA _ nuclear option
Source : AA

August 25, 2022

US, Russia, and the nuclear option

By Mesfin Arega

The US made the first atomic bomb through basically what amounted to slave labor of world scientists concentrated in a maximum-security camp called Los Alamos.  Ever since then, it has readily used (or threatened to use) atomic/nuclear bombs whenever and wherever it deems its military objectives cannot be met with minimal American casualties.  

President Truman’s alibi for bombing the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was “to bring the war to a speed end and save American lives”.  The same Truman threatened to use nuclear weapons in Korea, only because the resistance to his forces appeared to be stiffer than he expected.  President Eisenhower was quick to pull the nuclear card the moment things seemed to get a bit out of his control during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of the 1950s.  

A sure proof way for American presidents or presidential hopefuls to boost their polling numbers is threatening to nuke the likes of Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria.   Taking a page from their play book, the current foreign secretary of England (Liz Truss) boasted about her readiness to launch Trident nuclear weapons (supposedly on Russia), knowing full well that her nuclear threat will increase her chances of replacing Boris Johnson.  

America claims that its stooge (Zelensky) has severely degraded the Russian military and is ecstatic about it.  It brags that Zelensky has killed more than 80 thousand Russian soldiers, destroyed more than two thousand tanks, and shot down more than one hundred manned aircraft.  It praises its howitzers and HIMARS for enabling Zelensky to strike deep inside Russian territory.    

Well, what can one say, except that Zelensky is lucky he is fighting the nuclear dovish Russians?  Had he been fighting the nuclear hawkish Americans and dropped even a single cannon ball on their territory, he would have been roasted by a nuclear inferno on that very day.  After all, the US is a country which almost started a nuclear war, solely because its missile deployment in Turkey (right on the border of Soviet Union) was countered by Soviet missile deployment in Cuba, more than 90 miles away from the US border.  

The US is so narcissist that it would rather take the entire world (including itself) to hell via nuclear Armageddon than see her hegemony chipped even by a tiny bit.  Apart from English imperialism (of which the US Anglo-Saxon imperialism is nothing but an extension) and which (fortunately) did not have nuclear weapons, but whose famous leader (Winston Churchill) openly lauded the vicious massacre of Africans by the then weapon of mass destruction (the Maxim machine gun which could fire 600 rounds per minute) by writing 

“Thus ended the battle of Omdurman—the most signal triumph ever gained by the arms of science over barbarians. Within the space of five hours the strongest and best-armed savage army yet arrayed against a modern European Power had been destroyed and dispersed, with hardly any difficulty, comparatively small risk, and insignificant loss to the victor.”  [Winston Spencer Churchill, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, page 164]   

No other imperialism (including the Roman imperialism) could be accused of such barbaric narcissism.  

Russia _ USA _ nuclear option
Source : AA

US, Russia, and the nuclear option

August 25, 2022

US, Russia, and the nuclear option

By Mesfin Arega

The US made the first atomic bomb through basically what amounted to slave labor of world scientists concentrated in a maximum-security camp called Los Alamos.  Ever since then, it has readily used (or threatened to use) atomic/nuclear bombs whenever and wherever it deems its military objectives cannot be met with minimal American casualties.  

President Truman’s alibi for bombing the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was “to bring the war to a speed end and save American lives”.  The same Truman threatened to use nuclear weapons in Korea, only because the resistance to his forces appeared to be stiffer than he expected.  President Eisenhower was quick to pull the nuclear card the moment things seemed to get a bit out of his control during the Taiwan Strait Crisis of the 1950s.  

A sure proof way for American presidents or presidential hopefuls to boost their polling numbers is threatening to nuke the likes of Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria.   Taking a page from their play book, the current foreign secretary of England (Liz Truss) boasted about her readiness to launch Trident nuclear weapons (supposedly on Russia), knowing full well that her nuclear threat will increase her chances of replacing Boris Johnson.  

America claims that its stooge (Zelensky) has severely degraded the Russian military and is ecstatic about it.  It brags that Zelensky has killed more than 80 thousand Russian soldiers, destroyed more than two thousand tanks, and shot down more than one hundred manned aircraft.  It praises its howitzers and HIMARS for enabling Zelensky to strike deep inside Russian territory.    

Well, what can one say, except that Zelensky is lucky he is fighting the nuclear dovish Russians?  Had he been fighting the nuclear hawkish Americans and dropped even a single cannon ball on their territory, he would have been roasted by a nuclear inferno on that very day.  After all, the US is a country which almost started a nuclear war, solely because its missile deployment in Turkey (right on the border of Soviet Union) was countered by Soviet missile deployment in Cuba, more than 90 miles away from the US border.  

The US is so narcissist that it would rather take the entire world (including itself) to hell via nuclear Armageddon than see her hegemony chipped even by a tiny bit.  Apart from English imperialism (of which the US Anglo-Saxon imperialism is nothing but an extension) and which (fortunately) did not have nuclear weapons, but whose famous leader (Winston Churchill) openly lauded the vicious massacre of Africans by the then weapon of mass destruction (the Maxim machine gun which could fire 600 rounds per minute) by writing 

“Thus ended the battle of Omdurman—the most signal triumph ever gained by the arms of science over barbarians. Within the space of five hours the strongest and best-armed savage army yet arrayed against a modern European Power had been destroyed and dispersed, with hardly any difficulty, comparatively small risk, and insignificant loss to the victor.”  [Winston Spencer Churchill, The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, page 164]   

No other imperialism (including the Roman imperialism) could be accused of such barbaric narcissism.  

US troops injured by the Iranian horn

US military personnel in Syria: Pic: AP/File
US military personnel in Syria: Pic: AP/File

Syria: Three US troops injured after rockets fired at western coalition bases

A series of rockets hit two bases used by American troops as “support sites” for the ongoing mission to defeat remnants of the so-called Islamic State caliphate, according to a statement by the US military’s Central Command.

Three American troops have been injured in Syria after rockets were fired at western coalition bases in the northeast of the country.

A series of rockets hit two bases used by American troops as “support sites” for the ongoing mission to defeat remnants of the so-called Islamic State caliphate, according to a statement by the US military’s Central Command.

The three soldiers, who have not been named, are said to have suffered minor injuries.

The incident comes 24 hours after an American airstrike against Iranian-backed armed groups in the country.

It highlights an enduring and complex security situation in Syria involving the competing interests of the Americans, the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, Syrian government forces and remaining elements of the Islamic State terror group (IS).

The United States is understood to have about 900 troops split between two bases in Kurdish controlled parts of northeastern Syria.

In 2020, former president Donald Trump said he would pull all American troops out of Syria, prompting accusations of an abandonment of the Kurds.

In reality, the American mission – to defeat IS and control the region’s oil fields – continued through the remainder of the Trump presidency and has been maintained by President Joe Biden.

Much of Syria is now back in the hands of the country’s president, Bashar al Assad, after more than a decade of civil war.

Syrian president Bashar al Assad (L) pictured meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in May. Image: AP
Syrian president Bashar al Assad (L) pictured meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran in May. Image: AP

Iranian-backed militia groups have helped the Syrian leader to retake and hold land captured by opposition groups since 2011.

The northeastern Rojava region of the country remains in pro-western Kurdish control and IS elements endure in remote areas along the border within Iraq.

US officials in Washington have routinely accused Iranian-backed proxy groups of targeting US troops in both Syria and Iraq.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, Colin Kahl, under secretary of defence for policy, said: “We’re not going to hesitate to defend ourselves.

“We’re not going to tolerate attacks by Iran-backed forces on our forces anywhere in the world, to include in Syria, and we won’t hesitate to protect ourselves and take additional measures as appropriate.”

He was speaking before this latest rocket attack and responding to a series of US airstrikes on nine bunkers which the Americans claim were ammunition depots and logistic supply facilities.

Colin Kahl, US under secretary of defence for policy. Pic: AP
Colin Kahl, US under secretary of defence for policy. Pic: AP

In a hint of the complex geo-politics, American officials confirmed they had informed the Russian military before carrying out the airstrikes using established “deconfliction lines”.

Russia has a significant military footprint in Syria, including a naval base in the coastal city of Tartus, and has been instrumental, along with Iran, in helping President Assad regain control of the country.

Tit-for-tat strikes between America and Iranian proxies have intensified over the past week and come at a time when American and European diplomats are poised to revive a deal with Iran designed to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon.

President Assad and President Vladimir Putin in Damascus in January 2020. Pic: AP
President Assad and President Vladimir Putin in Damascus in January 2020. Pic: AP

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear non-proliferation deal collapsed in 2018 when it was abandoned by the Trump administration.

The Biden administration has sought to revive it, believing in its ability to place trust in nuclear inspections. A new deal is thought to be close, much to the angst of Israel and some Gulf Arab nations who say Iran cannot be trusted.

The signatories of the original 2015 deal, including the United States under President Obama, insisted on separating the issue of Iran’s enrichment programme with its behaviour regionally, a move heavily criticised by Israel and gulf Arab nations.

President Biden has used his military’s airstrikes this week to demonstrate that while he seeks diplomacy with Iran, he won’t hesitate to use force against Iranian interests if required.

Air Force sees ‘incredibly’ large missile buildup by the China Nuclear Horn

Air Force sees ‘incredibly’ large missile buildup by China

By Bill Gertz

NEWS AND ANALYSIS:

China‘s military is engaged in a large-scale expansion of both nuclear and conventional missiles described in a U.S. Air Force Air University report as “incredibly” large and rapidly increasing.

The report by the China Aerospace Studies Institute at the university said the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force, formerly the 2nd Artillery, is expanding both in the sophistication of its missiles and size of its arsenal. The growth in both missiles and launchers was based on increasing numbers of Rocket Force brigades and highlights the rapid buildup.

From 1980 to 2000, the PLA added four new missile brigades, including three armed with the latest weapons.

“This expansion accelerated in the 2000s: between 2000 and 2010, the 2nd Artillery stood up as many as 11 new brigades equipped with its growing array of weapons, including its first ground-launched cruise missile, the CJ-10, and its first self-contained road-mobile ICBM, the DF-31, as well as the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile,” the report said.

The speed of the missile buildup intensified between 2010 and 2020 with the addition of 13 new brigades along with the longer-range and multi-warhead DF-41 road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile; the dual nuclear-conventional DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missiles; and deployment of the world’s first hypersonic missile, the DF-17.

“Incredibly, between 2017 and late 2019 the PLARF added at least ten new missile brigades,” the report said. “This unprecedented expansion from 29 to 39 brigades represents a more than 33% increase in size in only three years.”

China‘s leaders also made the Rocket Force a centerpiece of a 2015 military reform by upgrading the force to a full military service. At the same time, the ground, air and naval forces were either reduced in size or lost direct control of forces to a new joint theater command structure.

“Thus, the PLARF has evolved from a small, unsophisticated force of short-ranged and vulnerable ballistic missiles to an increasingly large, modern and formidable force with a wide array of both nuclear and conventional weapons platforms,” the report said.

The report did not say how many missiles were involved in the expansion.

Military analysts have stated a typical PLA missile brigade deploys between nine and 54 launchers depending on the missile type. The actual number of missiles is estimated to be 20% to 25% larger than the number of launchers.

Long-range DF-31 brigades come with 12 launchers and DF-41 Brigades have 10 or 12 launchers. Short-range DF-15 brigades are equipped with between 32 and 36 launchers. Land attack cruise missile brigades are equipped with as many as 27 transporter-erector launchers. The differences in launcher numbers are based on infrastructure and command and control requirements.

Each missile brigade includes between 4,000 and 6,000 troops.

The Pentagon’s most recent report on Chinese military power states that the PLA has around 100 ICBMs, along with an unspecified number of short-, medium- and intermediate-range missiles. That number of ICBMs is expanding rapidly with recent disclosures that as many as 360 silos for new multi-warhead DF-41 ICBMs are under construction in western China.

China‘s conventional missile strength is estimated to be more than 2,200 ballistic and cruise missiles, considered the largest missile force in the world. More than 1,000 missiles are deployed within range of Taiwan, a key target of Chinese military strategy.

Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the Strategic Command, said China‘s missile expansion is one element of a major nuclear buildup. The number of road-mobile missiles in China doubled in the past few years, he told Congress in May.

Army Maj. Christopher Mihal, a nuclear and counter-weapons of mass destruction officer in the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, said that, in addition to numbers, the accuracy of some Chinese missiles increased as much as 800%.

For example, China‘s first nuclear missile, the DF-3A was assessed to be capable of hitting a target within a radius of more than 13,000 feet. By contrast, the new DF-41 can hit targets within a radius of between 328 feet and 1,640 feet.

Maj. Mihal said China‘s missiles are “perhaps China‘s most valuable current military asset as [they provide] China both offensive and defensive capabilities against a wide range of opponents, as well as the inherent value of deterrence that nuclear weapons provide any nation.”

China‘s missile force, while large, lacks large stockpiles of missiles, he added.

China does not possess vast stockpiles of missiles; in a protracted conflict, the utility of the PLARF will diminish rapidly,” Maj. Mihal wrote recently in the Army journal Military Review.

“This is doubly true for the nuclear arm of the PLARF. China simply does not have enough nuclear missiles to warrant a nuclear exchange, though Chinese defense white papers of the last decade have stressed an ‘escalate to de-escalate’ concept regarding nuclear employment.”

Japan’s military wants 1,000 new long-range missiles

The Japanese military is considering a buildup of more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles in response to growing threats from China, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported this week. The missile buildup is based on concerns about a potential conflict between China and Taiwan, the newspaper reported, quoting sources in Tokyo.

The missiles would be deployed on southern islands from Kyushu to the Nansei island chain.

The goal of the long-range missiles would be to counter China‘s deployment of missiles aimed at Taiwan, weapons that likely also could be turned on Japan in a future conflict.

Japanese officials disclosed several months ago that Japan’s military would join the United States in any future defense of Taiwan during a mainland attack. That has prompted Chinese state media reports to warn that Beijing would attack both Japanese and U.S. military bases in Japan during a Taiwan conflict.

The proposed Japanese cruise missiles would be an extended-range version of the ground-launched Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile.

The Ground Self-Defense Forces currently have deployed the Type 12 missile, and the range extension would boost the missile’s target-hitting capability from 62 miles to 621 miles — enough to reach North Korea and coastal areas of China. The missile also would be upgraded for launch from both ships and jet fighters.

Tokyo plans to field a ground-launched version of the new missile as early as late 2023. That is two years earlier than originally scheduled and highlights concerns among Japanese leaders about the need to deter the Chinese military more effectively.

The Japanese also plan to use the extended-range missile as a surface-to-surface strike weapon.

Tokyo is working to revise its national security strategy by the end of the year. The new version is expected to call for developing a counterattack capability against enemy missile bases. Japan in the past had adopted a policy of not possessing such attack capabilities and thus did not seek long-range missiles.

The report said China is believed to have about 1,900 land-based, medium-range missiles capable of targeting Japan and about 300 medium-range cruise missiles.

China recently sought to pressure the South Korean government into restricting the single U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile system in the country, but the Seoul government rejected the pressure.

During recent talks between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, the Chinese official demanded South Korea’s military adopt a policy of restricting operations of the THAAD battery deployed in South Korea and not deploy additional batteries, which are deployed to ward off a North Korea threat but which China fears could target its missiles as well.

The demand was rejected by the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol as infringing the country’s sovereignty and national security.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Mr. Park told Mr. Wang that South Korea would not abide by a 2017 agreement with China to limit THAAD, which has sensors that can reach areas of China.

Permanent deployment of the single THAAD battery now located temporarily near Daegu in the south-central part of the country is being stepped up. The system can shoot down short- and medium-range missiles.

China opposed the anti-missile system deployment as threatening China‘s large missile forces and fears the highly effective missile-killing system will be integrated into a regional anti-missile system led by the United States.

A senior South Korean official in the presidential office told reporters earlier this month that THAAD is a self-defense measure that would not be subject to negotiations, Reuters reported. The anti-missile system is needed to defend against North Korean missile threats.

Mr. Yoon has said he will jettison the previous government’s promise not to deploy further THAAD batteries and not to join a U.S.-led regional missile shield, or create a trilateral alliance involving Japan.

After the THAAD deployment was announced in 2016, China sought to punish South Korea by restricting trade and other economic ties that cost Seoul several billion dollars.

 Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

US Prepares the South Korean Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

South Korean army K-9 self-propelled howitzers take positions in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 22, 2022. The United States and South Korea began their biggest combined military training in years Monday as they heighten their defense posture against the growing North Korean nuclear threat. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

QUS, S. Korea open biggest drills in years amid North threats

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea began their biggest combined military training in years Monday as they heighten their defense posture against the growing North Korean nuclear threat. 

The drills could draw an angry response from North Korea, which has dialed up its weapons testing activity to a record pace this year while repeatedly threatening conflicts with Seoul and Washington amid a prolonged stalemate in diplomacy.

The Ulchi Freedom Shield exercises will continue through Sept. 1 in South Korea and include field exercises involving aircraft, warships, tanks and potentially tens of thousands of troops. 

While Washington and Seoul describe their exercises as defensive, North Korea portrays them as invasion rehearsals and has used them to justify its nuclear weapons and missiles development.

Ulchi Freedom Shield, which started along with a four-day South Korean civil defense training program led by government employees, will reportedly include exercises simulating joint attacks, front-line reinforcements of arms and fuel, and removals of weapons of mass destruction. 

The allies will also train for drone attacks and other new developments in warfare shown during Russia’s war on Ukraine and practice joint military-civilian responses to attacks on seaports, airports and major industrial facilities such as semiconductor factories.

The United States and South Korea in past years had canceled some of their regular drills and downsized others to computer simulations to create space for the Trump administration’s diplomacy with North Korea and because of COVID-19 concerns. 

Tensions have grown since the collapse of the second meeting between former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in early 2019. The Americans then rejected North Korean demands for a major release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear complex, which would have amounted to a partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities. Kim has since vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” U.S. pressure. 

South Korea’s military has not revealed the number of South Korean and U.S. troops participating in Ulchi Freedom Shield, but has portrayed the training as a message of strength. Seoul’s Defense Ministry said last week that Ulchi Freedom Shield “normalizes” large-scale training and field exercises between the allies to help bolster their alliance and strengthen their defense posture against the evolving North Korean threat. 

Before being shelved or downsized, the United States and South Korea held major joint exercises every spring and summer in South Korea. 

The spring drills had included live-fire drills involving a broad range of land, air and sea assets and usually involved around 10,000 American and 200,000 Korean troops. Tens of thousands of allied troops participated in the summertime drills, which mainly consisted of computer simulations to hone joint decision-making and planning, although South Korea’s military has emphasized the revival of field training this year. 

The drills follow North Korea’s dismissal last week of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s “audacious” proposal of economic benefits in exchange for denuclearization steps, accusing Seoul of recycling proposals Pyongyang has long rejected.

Kim Yo Jong, the increasingly powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, described Yoon’s proposal as foolish and stressed that the North has no intentions to give away an arsenal her brother clearly sees as his strongest guarantee of survival.

She harshly criticized Yoon for continuing military exercises with the United States and also for letting South Korean civilian activists fly anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets and other “dirty waste” across the border by balloon

She also ridiculed U.S.-South Korean military capabilities for monitoring the North’s missile activity, insisting that the South misread the launch site of the North’s latest missile tests on Wednesday last week, hours before Yoon used a news conference to urge Pyongyang to return to diplomacy. 

Kim Yo Jong’s statement came a week after she warned of “deadly” retaliation against South Korea over a recent North Korean COVID-19 outbreak, which Pyongyang dubiously claims was caused by leaflets and other objects floated by southern activists. There are concerns that the threat portends a provocation which might include a nuclear or missile test or even border skirmishes, and that the North might try to raise tensions sometime around the allied drills.

In an interview with Associated Press Television last month, Choe Jin, deputy director of a think tank run by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said the United States and South Korea would face “unprecedented” security challenges if they don’t drop their hostile military pressure campaign against North Korea, including joint military drills. 

Last week’s launches of two suspected cruise missiles extended a record pace in North Korean missile testing in 2022, which has involved more than 30 ballistic launches, including the country’s first demonstrations of intercontinental ballistic missiles in nearly five years. 

North Korea’s heighted testing activity underscores its dual intent to advance its arsenal and force the United States to accept the idea of the North as a nuclear power so it can negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength, experts say. 

Kim Jong Un could up the ante soon as there are indications that the North is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have developed a thermonuclear weapon to fit on its ICBMs.

Israel in ‘last-minute’ diplomatic push to halt another Obama nuclear deal

Israel in ‘last-minute’ diplomatic push to halt Iran nuclear deal

As the United States responded to Iran’s suggestions on reviving the landmark 2015 deal, Israel warned Wednesday of the consequences of going back to the accord.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. (via Reuters. )

Israel is waging a “last-minute” offensive to convince its allies to halt talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal with a flurry of diplomatic trips, calls to Western leaders and press briefings.

As the United States responded to Iran’s suggestions on reviving the landmark 2015 deal, Israel warned Wednesday of the consequences of going back to the accord.

In 2018, when then US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement that is designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, Israel celebrated.

His successor Joe Biden has sought to return to the deal, and after almost a year and a half of talks, recent progress has put the Jewish state on edge.

“On the table right now is a bad deal. It would give Iran $100 billion a year,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told journalists.

The money would be used by Iran-backed militant groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad to “undermine stability in the Middle East and spread terror around the globe”, he said.

Lapid said he had spoken in recent days with the leadership of Britain, France and Germany, to reaffirm his country’s opposition.

“I told them these negotiations have reached the point where they must stop and say ‘enough’,” he said.

Israel is dispatching Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday to Washington, where his team said Iran would be on the agenda of bilateral talks.

Lebanon talks

US officials announced a potential breakthrough on Tuesday, saying Iran had dropped demands to block some UN inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Tehran has also relaxed its insistence on a key sticking point — that Washington remove its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terrorism blacklist.

Lapid on Wednesday rebuffed such developments.

“In our eyes, it does not meet the standards set by Biden himself: preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” he said.

A senior Israeli official at the prime minister’s briefing said the draft text does not stipulate the destruction of centrifuges used to enrich uranium, allowing Iran to “restart” them at any time.

Lapid’s predecessor Naftali Bennett, a hardliner on Iran, this week pressed Biden to refrain from signing a deal “even at the last minute”.

Former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Lapid’s main rival in upcoming elections, also added his criticism, saying that the agreement “allows Iran to receive everything and give nothing”.

Netanyahu on Wednesday said that when it comes to the Iranian issue, “there is no difference between the right and the left” in Israel.

Progress in the Iranian negotiations comes as Biden prepares for midterm elections in November, the same month Israelis go to the polls.

Israeli officials are concerned any sanctions relief offered to Iran could see the Islamic republic boost funds to its regional allies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But despite Lapid’s sense of urgency in halting the Iran deal, Israel is at the same time conducting indirect border negotiations with foe Lebanon.

The US-backed talks on demarcating the maritime border could pave the way for the exploitation of gas fields on both sides of the frontier.

A senior Israeli official on Wednesday told AFP there was no contradiction over engaging in talks with Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a powerful force, while opposing those with Iran in part due to its ties with the group.

Israel supports the possibility of foreign firms exploiting offshore reserves for Lebanon, providing a way out of Beirut’s economic crisis, but the official did not foresee gas revenues reaching Hezbollah.

“I see no reason for having any confrontation with Hezbollah on this,” the official said.

Antichrist’s Men Refile Call For Judiciary To Suspend Parliament

Iraq’s Sadrists Refile Call For Judiciary To Suspend Parliament

AFP – Agence France Presse

August 26, 2022

Populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s camp on Friday refiled a petition for Iraq’s judiciary to suspend parliament to clear the way for fresh elections amid a months-long political deadlock.

At weekly Friday prayers near parliament attended by thousands of Sadr supporters, an aide to the cleric urged the justice system to pay heed to his calls.

“I will give you some advice,” Mohaned al-Mussawi, a Sadr loyalist, said in a sermon on Friday. “We expect the judiciary to confirm the (people’s) rights and give hope to the people”.

“We will not abandon our rights,” he added.

The judiciary already said last Sunday that it lacks the authority to dissolve parliament as demanded by Sadr, who is engaged in a standoff with Shiite political rivals.

Followers of Sadr, in defiance of the rival pro-Iran Coordination Framework, have for weeks been staging a sit-in outside Iraq’s parliament, after initially storming the legislature’s interior.

On Tuesday, the Sadrists also pitched tents outside the gates of the judicial body’s headquarters in Baghdad for several hours.

The judiciary, in its ruling on Sunday, said “the Supreme Judicial Council has no jurisdiction to dissolve parliament”, citing “the principle of a separation of powers”.

Under the constitution, parliament can only be dissolved by an absolute majority vote in the house, following a request by one-third of deputies or by the prime minister with the approval of the president.

Nearly 10 months on from the last elections, Iraq still has no government, new prime minister or new president, due to disagreement between factions over forming a coalition.

Russia is Ready to Start a Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Russia

Russia Just Told The World Why It Would Start A Nuclear War

What is the level of threat that would make Russia start a nuclear war? Our own analysts explain Russia’s latest announcement.

ByJack Buckby

Russia’s Tu-160 Bomber. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Kremlin Clarifies “Existential Threat” Precursor That Would Prompt Nuclear War – During the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin appeared to lean into the use of vague threats of nuclear war as a way of discouraging Western countries from supplying Ukraine with weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment.

Speaking to CNN in March, senior Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that an “existential threat” to Russia could be enough to warrant the use of nuclear weapons.

“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov said. It prompted criticism from the Pentagon, with spokesman John Kirby describing the Kremlin official’s comments as “dangerous.”

“It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act,” he said.

In May, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev appeared to threaten Western nations in a Telegram post with possible nuclear war. The Russian official warned of a “catastrophic” conflict that expanded beyond Ukrainian borders.

“Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war,” Medvedev said. “This will be a catastrophic scenario for everyone.”

Over the last six months, however, the closest the Ukraine-Russia conflict has come to a nuclear catastrophe has been the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Russian forces. The continued occupation of the nuclear facility carries with it the risk of missile strikes causing damage and triggering a nuclear meltdown.

This week, a Russian official provided some clarity on the Kremlin’s position on nuclear conflict and exposed Russia’s rhetoric on the matter as a bluff.

Analysis: What A Kremlin Official Said This Week on Nuclear War 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov explained Russia’s position on nuclear conflict in detail during an interview with Izvestia. The Kremlin official said that Russia intends to avoid nuclear war if possible and that only an emergency situation would prompt the Russian government to authorize a nuclear strike.

When asked what conditions would prompt Russia to resort to the use of nuclear weapons, Ryabkov referenced the doctrinal guidelines found within the “Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence,” a government document that outlines the Kremlin’s approach to the use of nuclear weapons.

“Russia hypothetically allows a nuclear response only in response to aggression with the use of weapons of mass destruction against us or our allies or aggression using conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened,” Ryabkov said.

Tu-22M3

Tupolev Tu-22M3 taking off at Ryazan Dyagilevo.

“The key word in both scenarios is ‘aggression.’ In other words, Russia’s use of nuclear weapons is possible only in response to an attack – for self-defense in extraordinary circumstances.”

The Kremlin official stressed that there is “no room for speculation for fantasy,” potentially implying that Russia has never come close to using nuclear weapons and is unlikely to use them at least in the short term.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.