New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York earthquake: City at risk of ‚dangerous shaking from far away‘
Joshua Nevett
Published 30th April 2018
SOME of New York City’s tallest skyscrapers are at risk of being shaken by seismic waves triggered by powerful earthquakes from miles outside the city, a natural disaster expert has warned.
Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.
A series of large fault lines that run underneath NYC’s five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, are capable of triggering large earthquakes.
Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.
The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.
Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.
EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors
But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.
The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.
What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.
The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.

THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City

RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS
“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher
This is because the bedrock underneath parts of NYC, including Long Island and Staten Island, cannot effectively absorb the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.
“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.
Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.
But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.
“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.
In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.
“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.
On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.

FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.
“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.
“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

The Power of the Chinese and Russian Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Russia, China and the Power of Nuclear Coercion, EFE

Russia, China and the Power of Nuclear Coercion

Available: Español

By Patty-Jane Geller*

When it comes to the threat of nuclear weapons, the U.S. typically focuses on our primary goal of preventing adversaries from using them. We do that with deterrence. Unfortunately, of late we’ve had to worry about preventing another tactic our adversaries are employing—nuclear coercion.

Deterrence dissuades opponents from taking a certain action; in other words, it uses the threat of force to maintain the status quo. By contrast, coercion uses the threat or show of force to compel an opponent to do something different.

In the last several months both Russia and China have been rattling their nuclear sabers. We’ll never know for certain whether it was these threats that prompted the Biden administration to take certain actions. But in several instances, it certainly seems that nuclear coercion was in play.

Let’s start with Russia.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year Vladimir Putin and his subordinates have made constant nuclear threats against the West. For instance, when announcing the special military operation in Ukraine, Putin threatened “consequences you have never seen” to countries that interfere. More recently, Russian TV aired a warning that Russian nuclear missiles could strike the U.S. or UK.

The commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, has labeled this behavior both “implicit and explicit nuclear coercion.”

And it seems to be working. Shortly after Putin issued his first round of nuclear threats, the Biden administration postponed a routine, scheduled test of the Minuteman III long-range missile seeking to avoid raising further tensions with Russia. The administration has also restricted the Ukrainian military from using weaponry like the U.S. HIMARS system to strike into Russian territory, even if doing so would help the Ukrainian war effort. Again, the reason was to avoid provoking Russia.

We can’t know for sure if the administration would have made those decisions if the Russian nuclear threat were not so salient. But the question is worth asking, especially considering the United States’ disadvantage in nuclear weapons present in the European theater of conflict. While Russia has over 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, which have less range and destructive power than intercontinental ballistic missiles, the U.S. only has a couple hundred. According to Adm. Richard, “[the Russians] are trying to exploit a perceived deterrence gap” here.

Then there’s China. Amid House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China fired several nuclear-capable missiles into Taiwanese waters. In response, the Biden administration once again delayed a test of the Minuteman III long-range missile. These missile tests are critical for ensuring the reliability of the land-based element of the U.S. nuclear triad, and forgoing tests could add risk to the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

The U.S. introduced this risk as a direct result of China’s aggressive actions. That sounds like a win for President Xi Jinping.

Fortunately, that test was quickly rescheduled and executed. But future Chinese nuclear coercion efforts could have greater consequences. If China invades Taiwan, for instance, Xi could take a page from Putin’s playbook and threaten “consequences you have never seen” should the United States come to Taiwan’s defense.

This threat would not lack credibility. While China deploys hundreds of nuclear-capable missiles in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. has none in that region. Succumbing to Chinese nuclear coercion in this instance and failing to help defend Taiwan would have massive ramifications for security, stability and proliferation in the region.

So how do we treat future Russian or Chinese attempts at nuclear coercion?

First, the administration must accept that appeasing dictators will only encourage them to continue their bullying. Indeed, after Biden delayed the first Minuteman III test, Putin doubled-down by testing his new Sarmat missile capable of delivering nuclear-armed, hypersonic weapons to the U.S. homeland. And after delaying another Minuteman III test amid tensions with China, Xi expanded Chinese military exercises near Taiwan.

Moving forward, the U.S. needs to reject nuclear coercion by demonstrating the will to defend ourselves if necessary. Following through with routine missile tests to prove that U.S. nuclear missiles will work as intended is essential to this effort.

Second, the U.S. needs to develop the capabilities that would backstop this strong stance against aggression. We must field regional or tactical nuclear weapons in a way that would fill the perceived deterrence gap between the U.S. and both Russia and China.

Fortunately, the House of Representatives and both Senate defense committees have rejected the Biden administration’s decision to cancel the nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile, a weapon that would begin to fill these gaps.

While Russia and China have not employed a nuclear weapon, they have certainly used their growing forces to their advantage. To avoid being subject to nuclear coercion efforts in the future, the U.S. must demonstrate strength of its own.

*Patty-Jane is a senior policy analyst for nuclear deterrence and missile defense at The Heritage Foundation.

This article is part of an agreement between El American and The Heritage Foundation.

Obama nuclear talks falter as Iran charges ahead regionally

Nuclear talks falter as Iran charges ahead regionally

Nuclear talks falter as Iran charges ahead regionally


September 14, 202219:31

The joint statement made this week by France, Germany and the UK ended speculation about the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran. They expressed disappointment that 18 months of negotiations had produced nothing and frustration over Iran’s seesaw negotiation strategy of going back and forth over its demands, raising hopes in one session and dashing them in the next.

Tehran’s habit of bringing up non-nuclear issues thwarted progress, but the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was its attempts to be exempted from nonproliferation safeguards that are at the heart of Iran’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and not just the JCPOA.

Tehran’s intransigence in the JCPOA talks and in dealing with the International Atomic Energy Agency is combined with its strident statements and actions in the region, all indicating that it is in no mood for compromise. It is daring its adversaries into taking tougher action if they can. Apparently the Iranian regime believes that, as the West is preoccupied with the Ukraine crisis, it will not act and will give Iran a free hand in the region.

Iran’s demands at the nuclear talks became impossible to accommodate, perhaps by design. As in every agreement, the initial idea was to restore “compliance for compliance,” meaning each party to the agreement commits to implementing its part of the bargain. However, while Iran rejected any suggestions of expanding the JCPOA’s scope, it kept introducing new, extraneous demands, such as lifting non-nuclear sanctions.

The three European countries have negotiated with Iran, in good faith, since April 2021 to restore and fully implement the JCPOA. In early August, after a year and a half of negotiations, the EU, which served as the JCPOA coordinator, submitted a final set of texts that would allow for an Iranian return to compliance with its JCPOA commitments and a US return to the deal.

Brussels bent over backwards to accommodate Iran’s never-ending tweaks, but that was not enough to secure a deal. In the final package, the EU made additional changes that took the Western parties to the limit of their flexibility. But that was not enough, as Iran has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity. Instead, it continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification.

While negotiators were edging closer to an agreement, Iran reopened new issues that relate to its legally binding international obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its Safeguards Agreement concluded with the IAEA. This demand was especially alarming as it raised serious doubts about Tehran’s intentions and commitment to a successful outcome regarding the JCPOA. Iran’s new demand also contravened its legally binding obligations.

The IAEA’s Board of Governors adopted in June, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution calling on Iran to take urgent action to answer the agency’s outstanding questions. Three months later, Tehran has not done so at all, as confirmed by the IAEA director general’s latest report.

Brussels bent over backwards to accommodate Iran’s never-ending tweaks, but that was not enough to secure a deal.

Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg

Separate from the JCPOA talks, the international community has, through the IAEA, made it very clear that Iran must fully and without delay cooperate in good faith with the agency. It is obligated to provide technically credible answers to the IAEA’s questions on the whereabouts of all nuclear material on its territory. The JCPOA talks should in no way be used to release Iran from its legally binding obligations under the global nonproliferation regime, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Safeguards Agreement.

While the nuclear talks falter, in the region Iran has different designs. Its armed forces chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, last week issued a warning to countries hosting US troops and bases. The warning was posted by the official news wire IRNA, saying that the “terrorist American armed forces” have reduced forces in the Gulf and have relegated the defense of those dependent on it to the “Zionist child-killer army.” Bagheri added that Iran was planning to expand its air and naval presence in the region, including through missiles and drones.

Earlier, Iran’s navy said it had seized two US surface drones in the Red Sea, claiming that the unmanned vessels jeopardized maritime safety. According to a statement, the “frigate Jamaran seized the two vessels on September 1” and released them “after international shipping lanes were secured.” The navy also aired footage of more than a dozen Iranian naval personnel pushing two drones into the sea from the deck of their vessel.

Iran, of course, has no coastline along the Red Sea but it has been building up its naval presence there over the past decade. Its presence in the Red Sea raises questions about its expanding military footprint beyond the Gulf, as it assumes the role of a traffic cop in the region’s international waters.

On Aug. 30, the Pentagon said an Iranian ship had seized an American military unmanned research vessel in the Gulf, but released it after a US Navy patrol boat and helicopter were deployed to the location.

Tehran’s meddling in regional affairs has also increased. Rocket attacks against Iraqi Kurdistan have continued, mostly by Iran-allied militias but at times from Iran directly. Politically, 11 months after successful elections in Iraq, Iran has prevented the formation of a new Cabinet and the appointment of a new president, insisting on giving its allies the leadership regardless of their relatively poor showing at the polls.

Lebanon has descended into chaos and economic paralysis thanks to Hezbollah, Iran’s operational arm in the region. Yemenis have not been able to sit at the negotiating table as Iran’s allies there have thwarted UN efforts to start the process toward a political solution.

Thus, it appears that Iran’s regional policies are in sync with its nuclear talks, all premised on the idea that it can get away with charging ahead as a rogue state, refusing compromises in the belief that the world is too distracted by Ukraine to do anything to stop it. Muscular diplomatic action is needed to disabuse Tehran of these notions and persuade it to sue for peace.

  • Dr. Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg is the GCC assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiation, and a columnist for Arab News. The views expressed in this piece are personal and do not necessarily represent GCC views. Twitter: @abuhamad1

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point of view

Biden-Obama may be plotting again to keep Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal

President Biden
Greg NashPresident Biden speaks during a Democratic National Committee grassroots event at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., on Thursday, August 25, 2022.

Biden may be plotting to keep Congress out of the Iran nuclear deal


Negotiators from Iran, the United States and the European Union have once again nearly concluded indirect talks over the “final text” of a nuclear deal. Like the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the new deal imposes temporary restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for broad sanctions relief.  Though the talks appear to have reached another impasse, they could rapidly conclude in the coming weeks if Iran decides to show flexibility.

As it prepares to market the deal to a skeptical Congress, the Biden administration has hinted that negotiations in Vienna did not result in a new agreement, but merely all sides returning to compliance with the JCPOA. This may seem likely a purely semantic point but may actually be a calculated effort to avoid a congressional vote after a review of the nuclear deal, as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA).

In May, the State Department Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley pledged to submit any prospective agreement with Iran for congressional review. INARA specifies that within five calendar days after reaching any agreement with Iran relating to its nuclear program, the president must transmit the full agreement to Congress. INARA also lays out procedures for congressional review and an expedited process for voting on the deal if Congress so chooses.

The Biden administration may still be hoping to avoid a congressional vote by claiming that it is merely returning to the JCPOA, which went through the INARA review process in 2015. Thus, the White House may try to argue that, while they are submitting the text of an agreement for review there is no need for Congress to vote on it again. Democratic leadership in Congress may be tempted to indulge in such an argument and use their majority positions to avoid a tough vote as the midterms approach. That would be a dereliction of Congress’ important oversight role.

The authors of INARA anticipated chicanery from the executive branch. Congress enacted the law in 2015 while the JCPOA was in the final stages of negotiations. Once the Obama administration made clear its intent to circumvent Congress and not submit the agreement as a treaty, lawmakers of both parties demanded a say, noting the scale of U.S. commitments under the deal. An overwhelming majority of Congress — 98 senators and 400 House members — ultimately voted to pass INARA, thereby ensuring their ability to review the agreement. Crucially, Congress took pains to define the term “agreement” broadly to prevent the Obama administration from circumventing lawmakers.

Under INARA, the term “agreement” means an agreement “related to the nuclear program of Iran that includes the United States, commits the United States to act, or in which the United States commits or otherwise agrees to act, regardless of the form it takes.” The president must transmit that agreement regardless of whether it is legally binding or merely a political commitment. Finally, the administration must transmit additional materials related to any agreement, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements.

The terms of the new agreement with Iran are not yet public, but reportedly involve substantial amendments to the JCPOA. That should not be surprising. The Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA more than four years ago, so Washington and Tehran cannot just flip a switch and go back to the way things were.

From a statutory point of view, reentering a substantially amended agreement effectively amounts to “reaching an agreement” under INARA, thereby triggering the law’s transmittal and review requirements. 

During the period in which Congress reviews and votes on the new agreement, the administration cannot provide sanctions relief from measures imposed by Congress, which greatly curtails the administration’s flexibility in providing Tehran immediate, unobstructed benefits. That is one reason the administration wants to get around INARA. They have apparently found another way: according to leaked audio from the lead Iranian negotiator, prior to submitting the deal to Congress the Biden administration will simply lift or suspend three executive orders relating to Iran.

We reconstructed the details using other public Iranian and U.S. government documents and found that this would result in the lifting of over 170 sanctions on critical Iranian banks, terrorists and foreign sanctions evaders. This includes sanctions relief for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and senior IRGC generals responsible for the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing and the 1994 AMIA bombing.

If the Biden administration enters the deal without due consideration and action by Congress, House and Senate members could initiate a lawsuit against the president. According to the Congressional Research Service’s 2014 study, based on the Supreme Court’s guidelines in Raines v. Byrd, individual members of Congress have legal standing against the executive branch when they have suffered an “institutional injury” that amounts to vote nullification in the past or future. Since INARA lays out the procedure for voting on nuclear agreements and provides an expedited vote, a court may find that evading the law amounts to vote nullification.

If members of Congress filed suit against the administration for injunctive relief, it could delay further sanctions relief, would raise the profile of the JCPOA’s deficiencies and draw attention to provisions in the deal that the Biden administration may be hesitant to publicize. It could also prove as a useful dilatory tool to permit a full accounting of the hidden concessions and side deals rumored to come, such as a widely-reported $7 billion hostage payment for the release of 4 American citizens — a rumor the administration has denied.The West’s water crisis is worse than you thinkBeware of Xi Jinping’s Taiwan trap

The Iranians pay close attention to the sentiments of Congress — in fact, Iranian officials frequently cite objections from Congress as reasons against rejoining the JCPOA. Even if the effort fails, this vote would send an extraordinary message to the regime and the international business community that any deal struck would not survive by any future Republican administration. Ultimately, it is risk-averse businesses and their leadership, not politicians, who make investment decisions.

This vote and its message would severely temper any economic investment in Iran (having a similar effect to sanctions), could prove to be a death knell for these misguided negotiations and would set the stage for the next administration to take a stronger approach.

Matthew Zweig, former senior advisor at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for Syria Engagement and senior professional staff member at the House Foreign Affairs Committee is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy. Gabriel Noronha is a fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) and previously served as the State Department’s special advisor for Iran from 2019-2021. He also served in the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2017-2019.

The Russian Horn may use nuclear weapons after Ukraine

Russia may use nuclear weapons after Ukraine setbacks, senior Nato and US officials warn

Kremlin could respond in ‘unpredictable ways’ to Kharkiv rout, says Rose Gottemoeller

11 hours ago

Russian president Vladimir Putin could deploy a nuclear strike against Ukraine after suffering humiliating defeats on the battlefield, a former senior US diplomat has warned.

Rose Gottemoeller, who served as Nato’s deputy secretary general between 2016 and 2019, voiced her fears after Ukraine retook much of Kharkiv province in less than a week.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she praised Ukraine for its successes but cautioned that the Kremlin could respond in “unpredictable” ways.

“The momentum is clearly on the Ukrainian side at this moment,” Ms Gottemoeller said.

“If one looks at the maps, they’re just amazing; the splotch of colour showing the Ukrainian acquisitions over the past 48-to-72 hours is really quite remarkable.”

The former deputy Nato chief then warned that Moscow could resort to using weapons of mass destruction in an attempt to make Kyiv capitulate.

“I fear they will strike back now in really unpredictable ways and in ways that may even involve weapons of mass destruction,” she said.

Although she believes the Kremlin would not launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, the senior ex-diplomat said he could order a nuclear demonstration strike. 

“He [Putin] might put in play a nuclear demonstration strike, either a single strike over the Black Sea or perhaps a strike at a Ukrainian military facility in order to strike terror not only into the hearts of the Ukrainians but also the global partners and allies of Ukraine.”

The warning was backed by former Donald Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that nuclear war with Russia was “a lot closer” than previously.

Appearing on Cats at Night on WABC radio on Monday, the foreign policy hawk was asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin might greenlight the use of nuclear weapons.

“Where we are now after this Ukraine success in the north is not that point,” he said. “But it is a lot closer to it than we’ve been before.”

Mr Bolton was Trump’s national security adviser between 2018 and 2019.

Their warnings come as Ukraine continues to make good progress in the northeast Kharkiv and the southern Kherson regions, according to Western military analysts. 

On the road to the recaptured strategic city of Balakliia, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Malya said on Tuesday: “The aim is to liberate the Kharkiv region and beyond – all the territories occupied by the Russian Federation. 

“Fighting is continuing (in Kharkiv region). It is still early to say full (Ukrainian) control has been established over Kharkiv region,” she added. 

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has once more urged the West to speed up weapon deliveries, urging it to “strengthen cooperation to defeat Russian terror”.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad said to offer $200 per shooting outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Screen capture from unconfirmed video purportedly showing a shooting attack in the northern West Bank, September 13, 2022. (Twitter. Used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Hamas, Islamic Jihad said to offer $200 per shooting attack, if video posted

Terror groups reportedly aiming to encourage copycat incidents in an effort to ramp up violence in the West Bank

By TOI staffToday, 9:50 am

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups are reportedly offering cash incentives for shooting attacks on Israelis, on condition that a video of the assault is published on social media.

The two groups are offering about $200 for a shooting in an effort to encourage more attacks, in particular as Israel enters its three-week High Holiday period, which begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, next week, Channel 12 news reported on Tuesday.

Videos must be published on the TikTok video sharing application in order to qualify for a payout, according to the report.

The West Bank has seen a spate of shootings in recent months, mostly targeting Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

An officer in the IDF was killed early Wednesday in a shootout in the northern West Bank, near the spot where a day earlier gunmen opened fireat a Defense Ministry engineering machine.

A heavily edited video circulated on Palestinian social media claimed to show the moment of the Tuesday attack by members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terror group. The footage could not be independently verified to have been from the incident.

Security officials are concerned that videos of shooting attacks will create so-called “internet heroes” encouraging others to follow their example, according to Channel 12.

Alongside arrest operations in the West Bank to thwart potential attacks, security forces are also aiming to stem the flow of cash that is used to finance or encourage attacks, according to the report.

The head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, warned Tuesday that terror groups were striving to encourage copycat attacks in the West Bank.

“The holiday period is always sensitive,” Haliva said at a conference at Herzliya’s Reichman University. “So I need to assume as a working assumption that there is a possibility of escalation.”

Haliva stressed it was only an assumption, not a certain prediction.

The shootings came as tensions have spiked in the region in recent weeks with Israeli forces ratcheting up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts, which Palestinians say have inflamed anger.

Israeli troops have repeatedly come under gunfire during nightly raids in the West Bank. The military launched the operation after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May.

More than 2,000 suspects have been detained since the beginning of the year, according to the Shin Bet security agency.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

Why the US Needs to Make Nice with the Pakistan

Why the US Needs to Make Nice with Pakistani Nuclear Horn

Imran Khan’s PTI fought the recent by-election on an anti-American narrative that due to an international conspiracy, some members of PTI were bribed at the behest of the US to retract support from his party. This was said to ensure that Khan’s government could lose the majority in the parliament and thus lose the government. Thus, due to the retraction of a few members, the no-confidence motion was carried out amidst a parliamentary fiasco. Resultantly, Imran Khan was thrown out of the government. This gave rise to a bitter campaign by Imran Khan and his PTI against the US for hatching a conspiracy against his government and bringing his downfall. Thus, he fought the by-election on anti-American sentiments by inciting a hate campaign against the US and scored a massive victory in the by-elections. This so-called conspiracy was allegedly based on a document written by a US official, but Pakistan’s top security body rejected Imran Khan’s allegation. Since the anti-American allegation was levelled at the national level, it has become necessary that Pak-American ties of the past may be reviewed.

The history of the Pakistan-US relationship has been generally a matter of smooth sailing for only brief periods, and is, mostly a story of tragedy and tormented relationships. Right from Pakistan’s inception, their relations were good in that the US kept providing massive military aid to Pakistan (between 1948 and 2016, Pakistan received nearly US$78.3 billion annually in military aid from the US). In the mid-fifties, Pakistan became a member of the southeast treaty organization in 1954 and signed the Baghdad pact in 1955 (later CENTO). Pakistan formally left SEATO in 1973, because the organization had failed to provide its assistance in the ongoing conflict with India.

During the rule of Ayub Khan, Pakistan enjoyed a close relationship with the US, and Ayub Khan granted permission to the US to fly its first spy missions to the Soviet Union from the Peshawar Air Base. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, America played a neutral role and brought a truce between Pakistan and India at Tashkent. However, the people of Pakistan became disillusioned with American support. America’s refusal to provide military support to Pakistan generated widespread anti-American sentiments in Pakistan that the US was no longer a reliable ally.

America has used Pakistan when it suited her agenda and then tossed it away when found inconvenient.

During President L B Johnson’s rule, both countries enjoyed cordial relations, but America maintained neutrality on border disputes between Pakistan and India, which pushed Pakistan closer to Communist China and India closer to the Soviet Union. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 disintegrated Pakistan by creating Bangladesh. America sent its Seventh Fleet into the Indian Ocean as a warning to India to resist escalating attacks against West Pakistan. However, the relations between the two countries remained normal.

Bhutto’s socialist ideas favoured the communist ideas but never actually allied with communism. Under Bhutto, Pakistan became a member of Non-Aligned Countries, building closer ties with the Soviet bloc. The socialist leanings of Bhutto’s government badly upset the US.

During those days, India had tested its nuclear device. Against all opposition to the Western block, Bhutto authorized the construction of Chagai weapon-testing laboratories. The atomic bomb project became fully mature in 1978, and the first cold test was conducted in 1983. But the domestic events took an ugly turn, and Bhutto was hanged in 1979 for the murder of a private individual.

During General Zia’s rule, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and established its puppet Rule there. This prompted the US to promote ties with Pakistan at their maximum and pumped billions of dollars of economic and military aid to Pakistan. This resulted in the defeat of The Soviet regime. With US assistance, in the largest covert operation in history, Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan.

In April 1979, the US suspended most economic assistance to Pakistan over concerns about Pakistan’s atomic bomb project under the Foreign Assistance Act. This once again created an Anti-American feeling in the Pakistani public.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the US, Pakistan became a key ally in the war on terror with the US.

After 9/11, Pakistan, when Pakistan failed to convince the Taliban to hand over members of Al Qaeda, The US directly invaded Afghanistan with Pakistan’s help and defeated the Taliban-Afghans. But ultimately Pakistan had to pay a very big cost in men and materials. The Taliban could not avenge their defeat from the US but found Pakistan their easy target to launch terrorist attacks. Due to the Afghan insurgency, Pakistan had to suffer rehabilitation of nearly 4 million Afghan emigrants on its soil providing them food and shelter. As per estimations of April 2021, more than 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians are estimated to have died as a direct result of the war. The rise of violent extremism in Pakistan due to instability in Afghanistan not only caused serious damage to Pakistan’s economy but has also been responsible for widespread human suffering due to indiscriminate terrorist attacks against our civilian population.

With Obama coming into office, the US tripled non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year over 10 years, tied military aid to progress in the fight against militants.

Pakistan remained a major non-NATO ally as part of the War on Terrorism and a leading recipient of U.S. aid. Between 2002 and 2013, Pakistan received $26 billion in economic and military aid and sales of military equipment. But both these countries experienced several military confrontations costing human lives on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border which embittered their relations.

After the US withdrew from Afghanistan, the US “distanced” itself from Pakistan. Imran Khan described this withdrawal as Afghans breaking “the shackles of slavery.” After the assumption of President Biden Pakistan declined an invitation to US Summit for Democracy.

This background of the history of Pak-American relations makes clear one paramount truth: that America has used Pakistan when it suited her agenda and then tossed it away when found inconvenient. Much of what has been written on this subject by Western critics, is biased or one-sided. The most balanced account appears in Daniel Markey’s book, “No Exit from Pakistan, America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad.” In this book, the author has taken due account of the tragic and tormented relationship between the US and Pakistan relationship, including Pakistan’s internal troubles and its rapidly growing population, nuclear arsenal and its relationship with China and India. He also pointed out where America erred in its relationship with Pakistan. In this context, he has recounted the instances when the US did not adequately rise to Pakistan’s defence in its wars with India in 1965 or 1971, or in 1990 when Washington placed sanctions on Pakistan for pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Despite these ups and downs, the ties of both countries cannot be broken without great peril to both. Pakistan, according to Daniel Markey, is not a state, which can be side-tracked by its closest ally i.e the US. Conversely, Pakistan for its economic development and security concerns direly needs the help of the US. Pakistan is a central Asian republic whose support is strategically very important for the US. Now that Pakistan is a nuclear state, America can neither afford to break ties with nuclear Pakistan nor allow it to grow so powerful that it proves a danger to the US and the entire region. Hence both countries will have to co-exist for their mutual benefit or at worse remain in an uneasy truce.

The writer is a former member of the Provincial Civil Service, and an author of Moments in Silence.