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.”

Animation Shows the Bowls of Wrath of the First Russian Nuke: Revelation 16

Animation shows how 1 ‘tactical’ nuclear weapon could trigger a US-Russia war that kills 34 million people

Business Insider US

Ellen Ioanes,Dave Mosher 

“Plan A” is an audio-visual simulation that shows how so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons could lead to a highly fatal global conflict between the Russia, the US, and allies.

Princeton University/Nuclear Futures Lab

More than 91 million people in Russia, the US, and other NATO countries might be killed or injured within three hours following a single “nuclear warning shot,” according to a terrifying simulation. 

The simulation is called “Plan A,” and it’s an audio-visual piece that was first posted to to YouTube on September 6, 2019. Researchers at the Science and Global Security lab at Princeton University created the animation, which shows how a battle between Russia and NATO allies involving the use of a so-called low-yield or “tactical” nuclear weapons — which can pack a blast equivalent to if not greater than the atomic bombs the US used to destroy Hiroshima or Nagasaki in World War II — might feasibly and quickly snowball into a global nuclear war.

“This project is motivated by the need to highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans. The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years,” the project states on its website.

The video has an ominous, droning soundtrack and a digital map design straight out of the 1983 movie “WarGames.” The Cold War-era movie, in which a young Matthew Broderick accidentally triggers a nuclear war, “was exactly the reference point,” simulation designer Alex Wellerstein told Insider.

But while simulations can be frightening, they can also be incredibly helpful. Governments can use them to develop contingency plans to respond to nuclear disasters and attacks in the least escalatory way, and they can also help ordinary citizens learn how to survive a nuclear attack.

“Plan A” was released as tensions between Russia and NATO allies and as Russia and the US were testing weapons previously banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Russia’s war against Ukraine has once against put Russia and NATO at odds, with concerns growing that the war could see the use of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine or expand into a broader conflict that goes nuclear.

The following shows how a NATO-Russia conflict involving a nuclear warning shot and the use of a tactical nuclear weapon could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear war.

At this point in the simulation, Russia fires a nuclear “warning shot,” prompting a tactical US response.

Science and Global Security, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy

In the scenario researchers presented, conventional warfare, which is all conflict not involving the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, escalates into nuclear warfare when Russia launches a nuclear “warning shot” from a base near Kaliningrad to stop NATO advancement. Russia doesn’t have a “no first use” policy since it dropped it in 1993. NATO forces respond by launching a tactical nuclear strike.

The US already has tactical nuclear weapons, such as B61-12 gravity bombs, and the Trump administration made the development of more a priority. Russia, however, has the largest arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons.

These kinds of weapons are designed for targets on the battlefield, like troops or munitions supplies, as opposed to long- or intermediate-range nuclear missiles that are fired from one country to another, for example, targeting an enemy’s bombers and ICBM silos — or even cities.

Tactical nuclear strikes up the ante.

In the simulation, both Russia and NATO up the ante with tactical strikes.

Princeton Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

If the nuclear threshold is crossed, the simulation finds, then both the US and Russia would respond with tactical nuclear weapons. Russia would send 300 warheads to NATO targets, including advancing troops, in both aircraft and short-range missiles — overwhelming force that would obliterate tanks, fortified positions and soldiers unlike anything ever seen in battle before. Supporting forces and civilians not immediately killed would be susceptible to painful and even fatal radiation exposure.

NATO would respond by sending about 180 tactical nuclear weapons to Russia via aircraft in equally devastating retaliation. 

The simulation was constructed using independent analysis of nuclear force postures in NATO countries and Russia, including the availability of nuclear weapons, their yields, and possible targets, according to the Science and Global Security lab.

The tactical phase of the simulation shows about 2.6 million casualties over three hours.

Instead of the tactical weapons de-escalating the conflict, as proponents claim they would, the simulation shows conflict spiraling out of control after the use of tactical weapons.

The simulation shows that Russia and NATO allies would deploy nuclear weapons against each others’ 30 most populous cities, killing 3.4 million over the span of 45 minutes.

Princeton Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs

Russia’s tactical weapons would destroy much of Europe, the simulation posits. In response, NATO would launch submarine- and US-based strategic nuclear weapons toward Russia’s nuclear arsenals — 600 warheads in total. 

Strategic nuclear weapons have a longer range, so Russia, knowing that NATO nukes are headed for its weapons cache, would throw all its weight behind missiles launched from silos, mobile launchers, and submarines. 

The casualties during this phase would be 3.4 million in 45 minutes. 

This leads to 85.3 million additional casualties in the final phase of the nuclear war simulation.

By the final stage of the simulation, there are 91.5 million casualties — all in the span of three hours.

Princeton University Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

In the wake of previous attacks, both Russia and NATO would launch warheads toward each other’s 30 most populous cities in the final stage of of the scenario, using five to 10 warheads for each city depending on its size. 

This phase would cause 85.3 million casualties — both deaths and injuries. But the total casualty count from the entire battle (of less than 5 hours) would be 34.1 million deaths and 57.4 million injuries, or a combined 91.3 million casualties overall.

But that’s just the immediate conflict: The entire world would be affected by nuclear disaster in the months, years, and decades to come.

The radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster would cause additional deaths and injuries. Studies also suggest that, even with a limited nuclear engagement, Earth’s atmosphere would cool dramatically, driving famine, refugee crises, additional conflicts, and more deaths.

Update: This story orginally published in 2019 has been updated and republished given concerns about tactical nuclear weapons, the war in Ukraine, and the risk of a broader war and nuclear conflict.

Al-Sudani Begins Consultations To Form The Iraqi Government, And The Antichrist Refuses To Participate

Al-Sudani Begins Consultations To Form The Iraqi Government, And The Sadrist Movement Refuses To Participate

By David Sadler Last Updated Oct 16, 2022

Yesterday, Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shia al-Sudani began holding consultations with the Iraqi parliament blocs regarding the program of the next government and the cabinet line-up, while the Sadrist Movement announced its refusal to participate in the new government.

Yesterday, Iraqi political sources suggested to the German News Agency (dpa), that the formation of the next government will include between 25 to 30 ministerial portfolios, most of which will be from the coordinating framework forces’ share, which has the majority in the Iraqi parliament.

The sources indicated that the political forces are considering naming three deputies to the new President of the Republic, Abdul Latif Rashid, noting that the Iraqi Prime Minister-designate will present the formation of the government within two weeks or early next month, and it will be accepted by the Iraqi parliament.

Hours after receiving the decision to assign him to form the Iraqi government within 30 days, Al-Sudani announced his “full readiness to cooperate with all political forces and societal components, whether represented in the House of Representatives or present in the national space without exclusion or marginalization.” He also pledged to “open the door to The real dialogue is to start a new page in work, reject division, eliminate hate speech, and form a strong government that is determined to implement its goals and program.”

Sources said that the Prime Minister-designate asked the political blocs to nominate a number of candidates to compete for ministerial portfolios, on the condition that they enjoy professionalism and integrity so that the best of them will be chosen, provided that they bear their responsibility before Parliament.

On the other hand, the “Sadr movement”, through a close friend of the movement’s leader Muqtada al-Sadr, Muhammad Salih al-Iraqi, announced yesterday its refusal to participate in the next Iraqi government, two days after the election of a new president of the republic, and assigning al-Sudani to form a government after a long political crisis.

A year after the early legislative elections, the Iraqi parliament elected, last Thursday, the settlement candidate, Abdul Latif Rashid (78 years), as President of the Republic, who in turn commissioned Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani (52 years) to form a new government for the country.

Al-Sudani was nominated for this position by the coordination framework, which includes several blocs, including the state of law led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Al-Fateh bloc representing the popular mobilization factions. Who has the ability to mobilize tens of thousands of his supporters, confirmed his rejection of this candidate and the next government.

Saleh said in a statement: “The new government will not meet the aspirations of the people, after efforts to form a national majority government have failed, and we stress our categorical, clear and frank rejection of any of our affiliates participating in this government formation, headed by the current candidate or other old faces.”

He added: “Anyone who participates in the ministries of the new government for any reason does not represent us at all. Rather, we repudiate him, and he is considered expelled from the current,” he said.

In addition, the Iraqi News Agency announced, yesterday, that the outgoing Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, appointed Hiam Nemat to the position of Acting Finance Minister, after accepting the resignation of Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, and the designated minister will occupy the position until the formation of the new government.

Could Violence Outside the Temple Walls Spread? Revelation 11

Could West Bank violence spread to Israel’s mixed cities?

“The last two or three days have shown the potential of this conflict to spread to other places in and outside of the West Bank,” said Michael Milstein

Maayan Hoffman | October 16, 2022

Police officers clash with Arab protesters in the mixed city of Ramla during a protest over tensions in Jerusalem, May 10, 2021. (Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The current round of violence in the West Bank could spread to the Arab sector in Israel, including eastern Jerusalem and mixed cities like Lod and Ramle, experts said.

“Hamas is trying everything possible to instigate riots [against Israel], including of course in Jerusalem,” a knowledgeable source in the government told ALL ISRAEL NEWS. “And we are starting to see it.”

She said that Hamas very openly posts in Arabic that it is trying to instigate the Arab youth in east Jerusalem over the Temple Mount. She said the terror organization wants to take ownership over al-Aqsa Mosque, which is under Jordanian control, However, “at the moment, Jordan is too weak to stand up to Hamas’ efforts.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is also too weak to take action to stop the spread of violence. The PA’s power has disintegrated over the last several years, especially since 2018 when former President Donald Trump cut more than $200 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians.

Security analysts have told AIN in previous interviews that in several West Bank cities, including Jenin, Nablus and even Ramallah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has become the dominant force.

“I do not think we are in the state of third intifada now,” said Prof. Michael Milstein, head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. “Right now, the situation is quite limited to the northern parts of the West Bank and to all kinds of independent cells. But I think the last two or three days have shown the potential of this conflict to spread to other places in and outside of the West Bank.”

This included a recent terror attack at the Shuafat checkpoint in east Jerusalem that left an 18-year-old soldier dead and a 30-year-old civilian security guard severely injured, as well as a shooting over Shabbat in the West Bank town of Beit El. 

“I think during this holiday, the last days of Sukkot, we are in a period of great examination. I think after this holiday, we will either see the tensions reduce or get higher,” he said. “I am really afraid that any spark … will cause an inflammation in the Arab sector and, of course, affect the relationship between Jews and Arabs inside Israel.”


There has been growing disillusionment and frustration among Arab Israelis, largely as a result of internal politics, but also because the society, which represents 21% of the population, has long felt neglected by the government. For the first time, an Arab party, Ra’am, joined the coalition. But the government fell after only a year, dashing Arab society’s hope for change.

Polls show that only around 35% to 40% of Arabs are expected to turn out for the Nov. 1 election. While Ra’am is still likely to pass the electoral threshold, it remains to be seen if the other Arab parties, including Balad and the joint Hadash-Ta’al list will make it.

“If we will talk about a new Knesset with less Arab representation and less involvement in decision making, I think the alienation between the Arab sector and Jewish society and the state will grow,” Milstein said. “I am afraid that a lot of tension and even clashes – violent clashes – will take place.”

He said that the first thing any new government must do is promote a strategy regarding the Palestinian issue. 

“It is quite clear that all the paradigms of the past are no longer effective,” Milstein said. 

Knesset Member Ruth Wasserman Lande, for example, presented a comprehensive program regarding internal security to Defense Minister Benny Gantz and former Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, which included quite a large range of issues from increasing the number of Israeli police in Arab and mixed areas to strengthening the police force and adding more beds in Israeli prisons. However, the plan was never moved forward.

In addition, analysts have talked about the need for other social and economic efforts, especially in the Negev and Galilee. 

For now, Israel will need to stay on alert, the government source said.

“The transition period between elections and forming a government is heaven for criminals,” she told AIN. “The sooner we pass this stage and a stable government is formed the better it is.”

The Conundrum of the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Security personnel march in front of a Dongfeng-17 medium-range ballistic missile and its mobile launcher on display at the Beijing Exhibition Center (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)Security personnel march in front of a Dongfeng-17 medium-range ballistic missile and its mobile launcher on display at the Beijing Exhibition Center (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine isn’t the world’s only nuclear flashpoint: Taiwan crisis is getting ugly

Taiwan isn’t making headlines, but the U.S. and China keep ratcheting up the tension — and the grave danger



Thanks to Vladimir Putin’s recent implicit threat to employ nuclear weapons if the U.S. and its NATO allies continue to arm Ukraine — “This is not a bluff,” he insisted on Sept. 21 — the perils in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict once again hit the headlines. And it’s entirely possible, as ever more powerful U.S. weapons pour into Ukraine and Russian forces suffer yet more defeats, that the Russian president might indeed believe that the season for threats is ending and only the detonation of a nuclear weapon will convince the Western powers to back off. If so, the war in Ukraine could prove historic in the worst sense imaginable — the first conflict since World War II to lead to nuclear devastation.

But hold on! As it happens, Ukraine isn’t the only place on the planet where a nuclear conflagration could erupt in the near future. Sad to say, around the island of Taiwan — where U.S. and Chinese forces are engaging in ever more provocative military maneuvers — there is also an increasing risk that such moves by both sides could lead to nuclear escalation.

While neither American nor Chinese officials have explicitly threatened to use such weaponry, both sides have highlighted possible extreme outcomes there. When Joe Biden last spoke with Xi Jinping by telephone on July 29, the Chinese president warned him against allowing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit the island (which she nonetheless did, four days later) or offering any further encouragement to “Taiwan independence forces” there. “Those who play with fire will perish by it,” he assured the American president, an ambiguous warning to be sure, but one that nevertheless left open the possible use of nuclear weapons.

As if to underscore that point, on Sept. 4, the day after Pelosi met with senior Taiwanese officials in Taipei, China fired 11 Dongfeng-15 (DF-15) ballistic missiles into the waters around that island. Many Western observers believe that the barrage was meant as a demonstration of Beijing’s ability to attack any U.S. naval vessels that might come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a Chinese blockade or invasion of the island. And the DF-15, with a range of 600 miles, is believed capable of delivering not only a conventional payload, but also a nuclear one.

In the days that followed, China also sent nuclear-capable H-6 heavy bombers across the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a previously respected informal boundary between China and that island. Worse yet, state-owned media displayed images of Dongfeng-17 (DF-17) hypersonic ballistic missiles, also believed capable of carrying nuclear weapons, being moved into positions off Taiwan.

One day after Nancy Pelosi met with senior officials in Taipei, China fired 11 Dongfeng-15 (DF-15) ballistic missiles — all capable of carrying a nuclear payload — into Taiwanese waters.

Washington has not overtly deployed nuclear-capable weaponry in such a brazen fashion near Chinese territory, but it certainly has sent aircraft carriers and guided-missile warships into the area, signaling its ability to launch attacks on the mainland should a war break out. While Pelosi was in Taiwan, for example, the Navy deployed the carrier USS Ronald Reagan with its flotilla of escort vessels in nearby waters. Military officials in both countries are all too aware that should such ships ever attack Chinese territory, those DF-15s and DF-17s would be let loose against them — and, if armed with nuclear warheads, would likely provoke a U.S. nuclear response.

The implicit message on both sides: A nuclear war might be possible. And although — unlike with Putin’s comments — the American media hasn’t highlighted the way Taiwan might trigger such a conflagration, the potential is all too ominously there.

“One China” and “strategic ambiguity”

In reality, there’s nothing new about the risk of nuclear war over Taiwan. In both the Taiwan Strait crises of 1954-1955 and 1958, the United States threatened to attack a then-non-nuclear China with such weaponry if it didn’t stop shelling the Taiwanese-controlled islands of Kinmen (Quemoy) and Mazu (Matsu), located off that country’s coast. At the time, Washington had no formal relations with the communist regime on the mainland and recognized the Republic of China (ROC) — as Taiwan calls itself — as the government of all China. In the end, however, U.S. leaders found it advantageous to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in place of the ROC and the risk of a nuclear conflict declined precipitously — until recently.

Credit the new, increasingly perilous situation to Washington’s changing views of Taiwan’s strategic value to America’s dominant position in the Pacific as it faces the challenge of China’s emergence as a great power. When the U.S. officially recognized the PRC in 1978, it severed its formal diplomatic and military relationship with the ROC, while “acknowledg[ing] the Chinese position that there is but one China and [that] Taiwan is part of China.” That stance — what came to be known as the “One China” policy — has, in fact, underwritten peaceful relations between the two countries (and Taiwan’s autonomy) ever since, by allowing Chinese leaders to believe that the island would, in time, join the mainland.

Taiwan’s safety and autonomy has also been preserved over the years by another key feature of U.S. policy, known as “strategic ambiguity.” It originated with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, a measure passed in the wake of the U.S. decision to recognize the PRC as the legal government of all China. Under the act, still in effect, the U.S. is empowered to supply Taiwan with “defensive” arms, while maintaining only semi-official ties with its leadership. It also says that Washington would view any Chinese attempt to alter Taiwan’s status through violent means as a matter “of grave concern,” but without explicitly stating that the U.S. will come to Taiwan’s aid if that were to occur. Such official ambiguity helped keep the peace, in part by offering Taiwan’s leadership no guarantee that Washington would back them if they declared independence and China invaded, while giving the leaders of the People’s Republic no assurance that Washington would remain on the sidelines if they did.

Since 1980, both Democratic and Republican administrations have relied on such strategic ambiguity and the One China policy to guide their peaceful relations with the PRC. Over the years, there have been periods of spiking tensions between Washington and Beijing, with Taiwan’s status a persistent irritant, but never a fundamental breach in relations. And that — consider the irony, if you will — has allowed Taiwan to develop into a modern, prosperous quasi-state, while escaping involvement in a major-power confrontation (in part because it just didn’t figure prominently enough in U.S. strategic thinking).

From 1980 to 2001, America’s top foreign-policy officials were largely focused on defeating the Soviet Union, dealing with the end of the Cold War, and expanding global trade opportunities. Then, from Sept. 11, 2001, to 2018, their attention was diverted to the Global War on Terror. In the early years of the Trump administration, however, senior military officials began switching their focus from the War on Terror to what they termed “great-power competition,” arguing that facing off against “near-peer” adversaries, namely China and Russia, should be the dominant theme in military planning. And only then did Taiwan acquire a different significance.

The Pentagon’s new strategic outlook was first spelled out in the National Defense Strategy of February 2018 in this way: “The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition” with China and Russia. (And yes, the emphasis was in the original.) China, in particular, was identified as a vital threat to Washington’s continued global dominance. “As China continues its economic and military ascendance,” the document asserted, “it will continue to pursue a military modernization program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.”

An ominous “new Cold War” era had begun.

To prevent China from achieving that most feared of all results, “Indo-Pacific regional hegemony,” Pentagon leaders devised a multi-pronged strategy, combining an enhanced U.S. military presence in the region with beefed-up, ever more militarized ties with America’s allies there. As that 2018 National Defense Strategy put it, “We will strengthen our alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific to a networked security architecture capable of deterring aggression, maintaining stability, and ensuring free access to common domains.” Initially, that “networked security architecture” was only to involve long-term allies like Australia, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Soon enough, however, Taiwan came to be viewed as a crucial part of such an architecture.  

To grasp what this meant, imagine a map of the Western Pacific. In seeking to “contain” China, Washington was relying on a chain of island and peninsular allies stretching from South Korea and Japan to the Philippines and Australia. Japan’s southernmost islands, including Okinawa — the site of major American military bases (and a vigorous local anti-base movement) — do reach all the way into the Philippine Sea. Still, there remains a wide gap between them and Luzon, the northernmost Philippine island. Smack in the middle of that gap lies… yep, you guessed it, Taiwan.

In seeking to “contain” China, Washington relies on a chain of island and peninsular allies stretching from South Korea and Japan to the Philippines and Australia. Smack in the middle of that chain lies Taiwan.

In the view of the top American military and foreign policy officials, for the U.S. to successfully prevent China from becoming a major regional power, it would have to bottle up that country’s naval forces within what they began calling “the first island chain” — the string of nations stretching from Japan to the Philippines and Indonesia. For China to thrive, as they saw it, that nation’s navy would have to be able to send its ships past that line of islands and reach deep into the Pacific. You won’t be surprised to learn, then, that solidifying U.S. defenses along that very chain became a top Pentagon priority — and, in that context, Taiwan has, ominously enough, come to be viewed as a crucial piece in the strategic puzzle.

Last December, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner summed up the Pentagon’s new way of thinking about the island’s geopolitical role when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Taiwan,” he said, “is located at a critical node within the first island chain, anchoring a network of U.S. allies and partners that is critical to the region’s security and critical to the defense of vital U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

This new perception of Taiwan’s “critical” significance has led senior policymakers in Washington to reconsider the basics, including their commitment to a One China policy and to strategic ambiguity. While still claiming that One China remains White House policy, President Biden has repeatedly insisted all too unambiguously that the U.S. has an obligation to defend Taiwan if attacked. When asked recently on “60 Minutes” whether “U.S. forces…would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion,” Biden said, without hesitation, “Yes.” The administration has also upgraded its diplomatic ties with the island and promised it billions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers and other forms of military assistance. In essence, such moves constitute a de facto abandonment of “One China” and its replacement with a “one China, one Taiwan” policy.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese authorities have reacted to such comments and the moves accompanying them with increasing apprehension and anger. As seen from Beijing, they represent the full-scale repudiation of multiple statements acknowledging Taiwan’s indivisible ties to the mainland, as well as a potential military threat of the first order should that island become a formal U.S. ally. For President Xi and his associates, this is simply intolerable.

“The repeated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to look for U.S. support for their independence agenda as well as the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China” are deeply troubling, Xi told Biden during their telephone call in November 2021. “Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burned.”

Since then, Chinese officials have steadily escalated their rhetoric, threatening war in ever more explicit terms. “If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence,” Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., typically told NPR in January 2022, “it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in military conflict.”

To demonstrate its seriousness, China has begun conducting regular air and naval exercises in the air- and sea-space surrounding Taiwan. Such maneuvers usually involve the deployment of five or six warships and a dozen or more warplanes, as well as ever greater displays of firepower, clearly with the intention of intimidating the Taiwanese leadership. On Aug. 5, for example, the Chinese deployed 13 warships and 68 warplanes in areas around Taiwan and, two days later, 14 ships and 66 planes.

Each time, the Taiwanese scramble their own aircraft and deploy coastal defense vessels in response. Accordingly, as China’s maneuvers grow in size and frequency, the risk of an accidental or unintended clash becomes ever more likely. The increasingly frequent deployment of U.S. warships to nearby waters only adds to this explosive mix. Every time an American naval vessel is sent through the Taiwan Strait — something that occurs almost once a month now — China scrambles its own air and sea defenses, producing a comparable risk of unintended violence.

This was true, for example, when the guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville sailed through that strait on Aug. 28. According to Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, China’s military “conducted security tracking and monitoring of the U.S. warships’ passage during their whole course and had all movements of the U.S. warships under control.”

No barriers to escalation?

If it weren’t for the seemingly never-ending war in Ukraine, the dangers of all of this might be far more apparent and deemed far more newsworthy. Unfortunately, at this point, there are no indications that either Beijing or Washington is prepared to scale back its provocative military maneuvers around Taiwan. That means an accidental or unintended clash could occur at any time, possibly triggering a full-scale conflict.

Imagine, then, what a decision by Taiwan to declare full independence or by the Biden administration to abandon the One China policy could mean. China would undoubtedly respond aggressively, perhaps with a naval blockade of the island or even a full-scale invasion. Given the increasingly evident lack of interest among the key parties in compromise, a violent outcome appears ever more likely.

If a U.S.-China conflict erupts, it may be difficult to contain the fighting to a “conventional” level. Both sides have shaped their military forces for rapid, intensive combat and decisive victory.

However such a conflict erupts, it may prove difficult to contain the fighting at a “conventional” level. After all, both sides are wary of another war of attrition like the one unfolding in Ukraine and have instead shaped their military forces for rapid, firepower-intensive combat aimed at securing a decisive victory quickly. For Beijing, this could mean firing hundreds of ballistic missiles at U.S. ships and air bases in the region with the aim of eliminating any American capacity to attack its territory. For Washington, it might mean launching missiles at China’s key ports, air bases, radar stations, and command centers. In either case, the results could prove catastrophic. For the U.S., the loss of its carriers and other warships; for China, the loss of its very capacity to make war. Would leaders of the losing side accept such a situation without resorting to nuclear weapons? No one can say for sure, but the temptation to escalate would undoubtedly be great.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there are no U.S.-China negotiations under way to resolve the Taiwan question, to prevent unintended clashes in the Taiwan Strait or to reduce the risk of nuclear escalation. In fact, China quite publicly cut off all discussion of bilateral issues, ranging from military affairs to climate change, in the wake of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. So it’s essential, despite the present focus on escalation risks in Ukraine, to recognize that avoiding a war over Taiwan is no less important — especially given the danger that such a conflict could prove of even greater destructiveness. That’s why it’s so critical that Washington and Beijing put aside their differences long enough to initiate talks focused on preventing such a catastrophe.

More Fighting Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Lebanese Hezbollah forces  (file photo)

Lebanese Hezbollah forces

Hezbollah, Hashd Al-Shaabi Forces Helping Iran Suppress Protests – Reports

Sunday, 10/16/2022

Iran ProtestsMiddle East

Forces from Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group and Iraq’s Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi have been seen helping Iran’s Basij paramilitary forces in their crackdown on Iranian protesters.

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, plainclothes men with Lebanese-accented Arabic speakers were seen trying to help Iranian police, Revolutionary iGuards, and Basij to suppress the protesters in various cities, including in the capital of Tehran.

Videos of the Arabic-speaking individuals violently beating Iranian protesters have earlier surfaced on social media. Iran International cannot independently verify the authenticity of the claim.

However, earlier in October, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah promoted the Islamic Republic’s propaganda line, trying to deflect blame over the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old whose death sparked the uprising. 

Referring to Amini’s death as a “vague incident,” Nasrallah — whose militant movement was created by Iran in early 1980s and has been receiving money and weapons from Iran ever since, said her death was a plot to weaken the Islamic Republic and create regional tensions.

Hezbollah is also using all its propaganda tools to show support for the Islamic Republic and misrepresent the current nationwide protests in Iran, organizing rallies in support of the regime in Tehran with students from its private educational system – the Mahdi schools.

The Russian Horn Prepares for nuclear war: Revelation 16

Su-25 single-seat armored subsonic attack aircraft
Su-25 single-seat armored subsonic attack aircraft

Moscow announces re-equipment of Belarusian Su-25 planes for nuclear weapons

Sat, October 15, 2022, 1:23 PM

Vorontsov also said Russia will transfer nuclear-capable Iskander-M ballistic missile systems to Belarus.

“(However), at this stage, we are talking exclusively about the transfer to the Republic of Belarus of Iskander-M dual-warhead systems with missiles with conventional (warheads), as well as providing some Belarusian Su-25 aircraft (only) with the technical capability to carry nuclear weapons,” the Russian diplomat said.

“At the same time, the transfer of technologies for the conversion of aircraft into nuclear weapon carriers to Belarus is not envisaged.”

According to Russian media, he justified such actions by possible “advance of NATO nuclear infrastructure to the east.”

“In particular, Poland has been declaring its desire to fully take part in joint nuclear missions for several years,” Vorontsov said.

“Recently, Warsaw’s activity in this direction has sharply increased. This, of course, was taken into account by Russia and Belarus when considering countermeasures.”

At the same time, he added that now “it is not planned to physically equip Belarusian systems with nuclear warheads, nor to move such warheads through the Belarusian territory.”

Ukrainian Ambassador to Minsk Ihor Kyzym was invited on Oct. 8 to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and handed a diplomatic note stating that Ukraine was allegedly preparing a strike against Belarus. Kyiv denied this information and called it a provocation by Russia.