East Coast Quakes and the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

Items lie on the floor of a grocery store after an earthquake on Sunday, August 9, 2020 in North Carolina.

East Coast Quakes: What to Know About the Tremors Below

By Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni Nationwide PUBLISHED 7:13 PM ET Aug. 11, 2020 PUBLISHED 7:13 PM EDT Aug. 11, 2020

People across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic were shaken, literally, on a Sunday morning as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in North Carolina on August 9, 2020.

Centered in Sparta, NC, the tremor knocked groceries off shelves and left many wondering just when the next big one could strike.

Fault Lines

Compared to the West Coast, there are far fewer fault lines in the East. This is why earthquakes in the East are relatively uncommon and weaker in magnitude.

That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.

According to Spectrum News Meteorologist Matthew East, “Earthquakes have occurred in every eastern U.S. state, and a majority of states have recorded damaging earthquakes. However, they are pretty rare. For instance, the Sparta earthquake Sunday was the strongest in North Carolina in over 100 years.”

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.

Vulnerabilities

The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.

Seismic waves actually travel farther in the East as opposed to the West Coast. This is because the rocks that make up the East are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of years older than in the West.

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.

Quakes in the East can also be more damaging to infrastructure than in the West. This is generally due to the older buildings found east. Architects in the early-to-mid 1900s simply were not accounting for earthquakes in their designs for cities along the East Coast.

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.

Unpredictable

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.

Nuke maps show what a the bowls of wrath would do to your city: Revelation 16

Nuke maps show what a nuclear bomb would do to your city

Total annihilation is a permanent threat.

September 4, 2022

We tend to remember only the good things. That is why most 1980s nostalgia is rose-tinted. Rarely mentioned about that decade was the constant sense of dread, the ever-present knot in your stomach. Why? Because you knew that everything and everyone you knew could be over in a flash. So what, exactly, was the point of anything?

Nuclear nihilism

The nihilism of that age was nuclear-inspired. At the tail end of the Cold War, East and West pointed vast arsenals of atomic missiles at each other, powerful enough to destroy global civilization several times over.

Hanging over the world like an atomic Sword of Damocles was the military doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction — MAD for short, and mad in essence. Its rather shaky foundation was that only a lunatic would start a nuclear war.

MAD had a few obvious flaws. What if one side made the rational calculation that the other side would not be fast enough to strike back? What if there was a system malfunction resulting in an accidental launch? Or a radar glitch falsely showing an attack? And what if a lunatic actually did seize power?

Wishful thinking

But then Boris Yeltsin climbed on a tank and the Soviet Union collapsed. With it, the nuclear nightmare vanished into thin air. Except that it didn’t, really. Many happily confused the conclusion of the Cold War with the end of the Atomic Age. But that was wishful thinking. On July 16, 1945, when the first A-bomb went off in the New Mexico desert, humanity went nuclear, and we can’t unring that bell.

We may not like to think about it, but the nuclear threat is here to stay. That became obvious after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Although as yet a “conventional” conflict, it has at least three atomic angles.

First, there are Putin’s not-so-subtle hints that Russia may use nukes if the West gets too directly involved and/or the tide of war starts to turn against Moscow. Those threats may not be entirely credible, but nobody is in a hurry to find out. In other words, they have proved effective at limiting the shape and size of third-party responses to the war.

Second, there are the nuclear power stations on the front line being used as tactical chips in a high-stakes game of atomic poker. First Chernobyl, now Zaporizhzhia — Europe’s largest such installation, reportedly used by Russians to store material and launch attacks, and which is regularly under fire (for which both sides hold the other responsible). A few days ago, according to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, a “radiation accident” was only narrowly avoided.

Going nuclear as a precaution

Finally, there’s the sobering thought that this war might not have happened at all, had Ukraine not given up the nuclear stockpile it inherited from the Soviet Union. It did so in 1994, in return for security guarantees by the U.S., the UK, and Russia. Clearly, other countries now see what such guarantees are worth and may be considering going nuclear themselves as a precaution.

The worst solution to a seemingly intractable problem is to ignore it. A long, hard look is better — at least the issue won’t be trivialized, and perhaps there is hope behind the horror. 

In that spirit, welcome to NUKEMAP. Using declassified info on the impact of various types of nuclear weapons, this web tool allows users to model a nuclear attack on a target of their choice. NUKEMAP was created in 2012 by Alex Wellerstein, a professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Professor Wellerstein’s particular field is the study of the history of nuclear weapons.

Talking to Newsweek, Professor Wellerstein said that NUKEMAP was meant to help people, himself included, understand the true impact of nuclear explosions: “Some people think [nuclear bombs] destroy everything in the world all at once, some people think they are not very different from conventional bombs. The reality is somewhere in between.”

“Stomach-churning,” but also fun

He has described NUKEMAP as “stomach-churning,” but also as “the most fun I’ve had with Google Maps ever.” Sounds a bit like your favorite rollercoaster ride, minus the long wait. Ready?

Go to NUKEMAP, pick a target location (the default is Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s Soho district), and then select your weapon of choice, with a variety of yields. The smallest is an unnamed North Korean weapon tested in 2006 (with a blast yield of a mere six tons — that is, equivalent to six tons of TNT). You can also test the one that started it all, Little Boy (15 kilotons), which was dropped on Hiroshima, as well as the largest one, the Russian Tsar Bomba (100 megaton, but never used).

You can also pick whether you’d like the bomb to explode in the air or on the ground and whether you’d like to see the number of casualties and the fallout area (yes and yes, obviously). There are a bunch of more sophisticated settings, but by now your finger is itching to press DETONATE.

The effects are stomach-churning indeed: Large zones around ground zero are effectively vaporized. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions killed. Many more wounded.

More than 275 million detonations

Professor Wellerstein’s NUKEMAP has been around for more than a decade and has racked up more than 275 million “detonations” over that period. Unsurprisingly, there has been an uptick in visitor numbers since the start of the Ukraine War, with some days numbering more than 300,000 visitors.

But those visitors don’t even see the worst effects of a potential nuclear war. Yes, they get a sense of the destruction and the casualties, but worse will come — and we’re not even talking about radiation.

A recent study examining the climatic effects of nuclear war found that even a limited nuclear exchange — say, an atomic war between India and Pakistan — could send up enough soot into the atmosphere to reduce global calorie production by 50% and threaten more than two billion people with starvation. A worst-case scenario — all out nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia — would result in a 90% drop for up to four years, which could result in global famine killing more than five billion.

That feeling you’ve got now: that’s what I call proper 1980s nostalgia.

This is not the end for the Antichrist

This is not the end for Iraq’s Sadr

Muqtada al Sadr will always have a place and a role to play in the dysfunctional Iraqi status-quo, which helps Iran weild its influence in Iraq.

After last week’s deadly clashes across central and southern Iraq between supporters of controversial cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his rivals in the overtly pro-Iran Coordination Framework, some have wondered whether Sadr’s retirement announcement will finally spell the end of the firebrand.

However, the mercurial and notoriously fickle cleric almost always makes a comeback – as his frequent retirement announcements in the past have shown. This time will be no different.

Clerical cloaks and daggers

The fighting came after Sadr announced that he was permanently retiring from the political scene, triggering a wave of violence that briefly enveloped several urban centres, including Baghdad and Basra – Iraq’s two largest cities. As quick as the fire of armed violence was sparked, it went out again due to the interventions of neighbouring states and powerful local actors.

Sadr’s pledge to withdraw from public life followed hot on the heels of another Iran-based cleric, Kadhim al Haeri, who acts as a spiritual guide to the Sadrists but has frequently had tensions with Sadr. Haeri resigned from his position as a marji’ – one of the learned Shia scholars who has spiritual authority over lay Shia – which is almost entirely unprecedented as these aged and senior Shia scholars tend to preside over vast religious endowments and wealthy educational and spiritual establishments until their deaths. 

Haeri not only retired, but took a veiled stab at Sadr’s legitimacy, stating that the Sadrists should cease looking to Haeri for religious guidance, stop heeding the words of the unlearned (widely viewed as an attack on Sadr), and should instead swear fealty and pledge their allegiances to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who is, of course, Iran’s supreme leader.

While I have previously written about Sadr’s intimate ties to the Iranian regime, the fact that Haeri – once the student of Sadr’s father, Ayatollah Muhammed Sadiq al Sadr – decided to retire in such dramatic fashion placed the younger Sadr in a predicament.  

Making matters worse was another clerical intervention. According to some reports, the violence only abated after Iranian pressure convinced Iraq’s most senior Shia spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, to threaten Sadr either with backing down and ordering his supporters to return to their homes, or else he would denounce them and their violence, thereby indicating that Sadr would take the blame for causing the intra-Shia rift.

If these reports prove true, Sistani taking such an action would have been catastrophic for the decidedly unlearned Sadr who relies on his lineage and his father’s and uncle’s reputations to legitimise his role as a leader. 

Unlike his now-deceased family members who were ayatollahs and considered to be extremely learned in Shia theological and jurisprudential matters, Muqtada al Sadr cannot hold a candle to them. Therefore, to have two of the biggest ayatollahs in the region denounce him one after the other would have destroyed his credibility among the Shia masses he so desperately needs to further his political ambitions. 

A sight we have seen before

This is not the first time Sadr has parted ways with politics. By some estimates, the capricious cleric has quit and made a comeback at least seven times, which is almost an average of once every three years over the past two decades. Moreover, and interestingly considering his posturing as being an anti-Iran nationalist, most of the times Sadr retired or withdrew from political life, he found himself seeking refuge in Iran.  

In 2007, and fearing an American crackdown, Sadr stayed in Iran and had clerics junior to him make statements on his behalf until his return. Similarly, in 2011 and after having not been seen for four years, Sadr gave a speech in Najaf to an audience of thousands before again retiring to Iran again to “continue his studies” – studies, as Haeri and others have been at pains to point out, he has never finished.

With each semi or full retirement announcement, Sadr backtracked and made a return to the scene. And, despite his supposed opposition to Iran, each of Sadr’s political sabbaticals ended up with him being sheltered by his supposed enemy in Tehran.

Additionally, even last week’s violence within the Shia house was not unprecedented, particularly between Sadr and his main domestic rival, former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. Maliki – who was blamed for the rise of Daesh by parliament – is the driving force behind the Coordination Framework.

However, and early on in Maliki’s reign as premier, the tensions between the two Shia preachers reached such a level that there was an all-out military confrontation between Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia on one side and Maliki’s US-backed Iraqi security forces on the other.

 Over a period of six days in March 2008, Maliki – backed by British and American forces – failed to dislodge the Mahdi Army from Basra during the “Operation Charge of the Knights” campaign. In the end, and in a pattern that has repeated itself ever since, a ceasefire was negotiated by Iran, leading Sadr to command his men to stand down and leaving Maliki holding power.

These trends give a good indication as to where the current crisis will take Iraq. With Iran being the main beneficiary of the US-led invasion in 2003 which catapulted it into its present position as the most powerful regional actor in Iraq while meddling in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, it is highly unlikely that Tehran will simply stand by and watch the crown jewel of its new “empire” slip out of its hands. 

Instead, Iran will engage in intensive diplomacy and coercion to get the situation in Iraq to stabilise once more with the status quo of the past two decades that it has benefited from so much secured and in place.

In this scenario, there are no real winners amongst the Iraqi factions, but simply Iran would continue to impose its influence over the war-ravaged country. If past popular protests against Iranian hegemony are anything to go by, the expected Iranian intervention in this crisis will simply kick the can down the road, and we can expect significant turbulence again in the near future.

This is not the first (nor probably the last) time that intra-Shia political violence has spilled out onto Iraq’s streets in such dramatic fashion, and it is likely that regional shot-caller Iran will play an active role in ensuring that the dysfunctional Iraqi status quo of the past two decades remains in place so as to further serve Tehran’s interests at the expense of the Iraqi people. And, in such a system, Sadr will always have a place and a role to play.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.

We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to opinion.editorial@trtworld.com

Antichrist calls on pilgrims to adhere to Iraqi laws

A supporter of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr carries away items as their encampment in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone is dismantled on August 30, 2022. Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Sadr calls on pilgrims to adhere to Iraqi laws

A+ A-ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday called on Shiite pilgrims to respect the laws of Iraq during their visit to the country, days after his supporters stormed government buildings in the Iraqi capital.

“The laws of this country should be adhered by in all visits to holy sites and elsewhere,” Sadr said in a statement, calling on all Arbaeen pilgrims to adhere to entering Iraq through official crossings and with proper traveling permit and passports.

Sadr specifically pointed at Iranian pilgrims as they are the largest group of people visiting Iraq for holy pilgrimages.

Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for the death of Shiite leader and grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Imam Hussein, in a battle fought at Karbala in 680 AD.

The day sees millions of Shiite Muslims from across the world including Lebanon, Turkey, Kuwait and especially Iraq’s Shiite-majority neighbor, Iran.

Ahead of Arbaeen, mainly foreign pilgrims set out on a symbolic 80-kilometer-long walk that begins from the city of Najaf where the shrine of Imam Hussein’s father is located, to Karbala which houses Imam Hussein’s shrine. It is customary to dress in black as they march the streets of the city, often hitting themselves with chains and wood. 

Stalls of food and water are usually set up by local residents and volunteers to make sure that no pilgrim goes hungry or thirsty. Small tents, lined with mattresses and blankets for people who want to rest, are placed along the path.

Sadr also called on Iraqi officials and specifically local Karbala authorities to maintain security during the ceremonies.

“They need to control and be aware of the security very well and control the checkpoints through security forces only,” he said, noting that checkpoints should not be held by the Iran backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) or the militia affiliated to himself.

Sadr’s statement came after a Monday retirement letter from him set off violent clashes in Baghdad between his supporters and Coordination Framework loyalists in the capital’s high-security Green Zone which led to the death of at least 30 people, and the injury of over 500 people.

Despite Sadr’s call for ending the violence, his militia Saraya al-Salam and pro-Iran Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) militia groups engaged in heavy confrontations in Iraq’s southern city of Basra on Wednesday, leaving at least four militants killed, according to AFP.

Hamas executes five prisoners, including two Israel ‘collaborators’ outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas executes five prisoners, including two Israel ‘collaborators’ in Gaza

Online News EditorSeptember 4, 2022

Gaza, Sep 4 (EFE).- Hamas, the de-facto ruling Islamist group of the Gaza Strip, executed five Palestinians on Sunday, including two for “collaborating” with Israel.

“On Sunday morning, the death sentence was carried out against two condemned over collaboration with the occupation and three others in criminal cases,” Hamas said in a statement.

Hamas’ interior ministry did not disclose the prisoners’ full names but it gave their initials and years of birth. They were executed by hanging at 5.00 am local time.

The two hanged for “collaboration” with Israel were men born in 1968 and 1978.

The older was a resident of Khan Yunis in the southern part of the coastal enclave and was convicted of providing Israel with “information on men of the resistance, their residence and the location of rocket launchpads” in 1991, according to Hamas.

The second was convicted of giving Israel details in 2001 that “led to the attacking and martyrdom of citizens” by Israeli forces, the organization said.

The other three were found guilty of murder.

Sunday’s hangings raise the total number of executions since Hamas took control of the strip in 2007 to 33.

Under Palestinian law, death sentences require the approval of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, but Hamas, which governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), has carried out executions without his permission.

The last executions that Hamas carried out in the Strip were in 2017, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. EFE

sar-sga/smq/ks

The Truth About the Upcoming Nuclear War: Revelation 16

russian and us flag chess pieces with lightning striking around them

Who Has the Most Nukes and How Safe Is US From Attack?

While the numbers may differ, depending on the source, it appears that Russia has the most nuclear weapons of similarly armed nations in the world, USA Today reported Saturday.

Using numbers from the Arms Control Association, Russia leads the United States with 6,257 nuclear weapons to 5,550.

China is third with about 350 nuclear weapons, followed by France and the United Kingdom both having over 200 each, Pakistan and India with about 160 each, Israel with 90, and North Korea with between 40-50, according to that organization.

Statista estimates Russia with a bit fewer at 5,977 compared to 5,428 for the United States, and lists North Korea with only 20 out of its 12,705 total.

Regardless of the actual numbers, tensions between the United States with both Russia and China led to a February spike in Google searches for “nuclear weapons” and “nuclear war” immediately before Russian invaded Ukraine on Feb. 25, according to the article.

In 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a fact sheet that estimated the time it would take for a land-based Russian nuclear warhead to reach the United States to be just 30 minutes, and as little as 10-15 minutes for a submarine-launched missile strike.

The New START Treaty limits the number of nuclear armed units to be on alert through 2026, according to the State Department.

The specifics include: 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments; 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit); and 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments, according to the State Department.

The treaty includes “detailed procedures” for implementation and verification of the terms in the agreement.

Both the United States and Russia are required under the New START Treaty to keep each other advised to the location and technical characteristics of weapons systems and facilities specified in the agreement, which was signed by 191 countries.

The USA Today report said that preventing or intercepting a nuclear strike would be hard, due to the speed of the weapons and the need to intercept them at certain points in their flight, including at launch, when they are out in space and the point at which they reenter the atmosphere.

There is also a “shortfall” danger that hitting the incoming missile incorrectly could send it off course, striking another country, the report said.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The Antichrist’s changing tack: A fighting chance

Al-Sadr’s changing tack: A fighting chance

Al-Sadr’s changing tack: A fighting chance

Makhan Saikia

Iraq is once again pushed into a new crisis. The current power struggle is fierce. It is solely taking place among the frail Shia elites in the country. Old wounds are emerging. Battlegrounds are agog with a strong feeling of revenge and hatred. The government of the day is helpless. And the new chaos reminds the international community of bloody years between 2003 and 2012 in the US-controlled Iraq when rebels fought against the occupying forces.

Sadly, Baghdad has not been able to experience a permanent political establishment since the general election of October 2021. The main reason is that no single political party could cross the majority mark in that election. Nevertheless, the present intra-Shia turmoil in this country is unique. Seemingly, the saga in this war-ravaged nation is once again echoing the crisis when Iran and the US vied for power in Iraq.

What is the crisis all about? Today the cynosure of the escalating political crisis in Iraq is none other than the influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Political analysts say that it is the longest political deadlock since 2003 wherein prominent Shia leaders are bitterly fighting for their dominance in the government formation. The parliamentary election took place in Iraq in the month of October last year. The party of al-Sadr won 74 seats, the maximum by any single political outfit. But it fell short of 91 seats to have a clear majority in the 329-member parliament to form the next government in Baghdad. In the October election the Iran-backed Shia party’s share dropped from 48 to 17.

After failing to overturn the results in the court, the rival Shia groups almost stalled al-Sadr’s efforts to form a new government. In fact, al-Sadr wanted all his Kurdish and Sunni Arab allies but not those which are pro-Iran. Al-Sadr wants to stay away from the pro-Iranian groups. He is trying to build up a new nationalist dialogue in the country. But it is really difficult as the Iranian zealots are closely watching the current developments.

Al-Sadr’s sudden announcement to quit Iraqi politics has enraged his supporters. Although the cleric had made similar vows in the past also, he did not keep his words. Experts opine that his move is a desperate and dangerous attempt to maintain his power and galvanise the power base in already crumbled power corridors of Iraqi politics.

As the protests turned violent, there were rumours that pro-Iranian militias might attack the demonstrators, some of them taking shelter in the autonomous Kurdistan region. This is certainly escalating the crisis but the Kurdish groups are trying to build a consensus among the rival groups.

Many say that al-Sadr does not have any leverage now. And he is simply appealing to the emotions of his followers. He is trying to further strengthen the personality cult amid the crisis. Abbas Kadhim, the Director of the Atlantic Council’s Iraq Initiative rightly, said, “He is telling his followers that okay I was defeated but it is up to you to turn me into a victorious player by doing whatever it takes. Or you could say, we give up. We lost.” His followers are willing to do anything to maintain the image, status and power position of al-Sadr in Iraq. This scene is potentially dangerous for a country like Iraq.

Meanwhile, the UN mission in Iraq has termed the protests as “extremely dangerous escalation”. Also, it urged all the protesters to vacate all the government premises so that the caretaker government of the country can start functioning. Around the same time, al-Sadr asked his supporters to leave the Green Zone of the capital city. This could be a new tactic for the cleric to prepare for the next level of street fight with his rivals. But his followers are not going to leave the public squares any sooner. And it will escalate tension in the emerging political landscape of the country.

The current political stalemate is effectively deflecting attention from the country’s long-standing economic challenges. The ongoing Russia-Ukrainian war has impacted the Iraq crisis resolution. This has indeed paralysed many of the nations, including Europe, especially in West Asia. Since the February 24 Russia-Ukrainian war, food prices have soared globally. At this time, when skyrocketing crude prices have strengthened the national economy.

From the current stalemate, it has emerged that al-Sadr has proved his inability to govern, or he has retreated to make a new comeback. But one thing is certain: His actions demonstrate that he is not responsible. It has been observed that whenever he is close to power, he throws tantrums. He threatens either to quit or leave the country. This is how he tries to confuse the Iraqi public. And he wants to bolster his might by resorting to new tactics.

Some say that even if the current deadlock comes to an end, it may certainly leave its fissures behind for the future. The warning signal that is emerging from the streets of Baghdad is that it is better for al-Sadr to be peaceful rather than pushing his followers to the brink of fresh violence. It would certainly help the populist cleric to remain relevant in the much-divided Iraqi political spectrum, despite all the pressures from the US and neighbouring Iran.

This is Iraq’s longest political impasse since the American invasion of the country in 2003 after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. This ominous escalation has catapulted the oil-rich nation even deeper into a serious chaos. If it continues, Iraq’s years of tumultuous transition to civil governance may soon disappear. With all his clout, al-Sadr can play the role of a peacemaker so as to pull back all his supporters from the road to violence.

Today Iraq demands peace. And the world can’t afford to have another crisis in West Asia when the region is already troubled by the neighbouring Syrian civil war since 2011, and another one in Libya, besides the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. And above all, the Ukrainian crisis is deepening while altering the existing global order. So, keeping all these in mind, al-Sadr should not turn into a “will-o-the-wisp”, rather he should realise his organisational strength to bring back order in Iraq. What Iraq needs today is a stable political establishment. Baghdad can’t bear a simmering crisis. Al-Sadr, the rest of the Shia leaders and all the other political players in Iraq must remember that violence and chaos only emboldens Iran to make further inroads into their country.

(Dr Makhan Saikia has taught political science and international relations for over a decade in institutions of national and international repute after specialisation in globalisation and governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He is the chief editor of the Journal of Global Studies, an international research journal)