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

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


11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

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

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

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

said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

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

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

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

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

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.

About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2

, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2

from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

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

Learn more

about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

Good luck securing Pakistan’s nuclear horn: Daniel 7

Securing Pakistan’s nukes – PART-I

Imran Malik

November 05, 2022

The current global geopolitical and geostrategic environments are on the boil. The US is stridently on the move to reassert and stamp its pre-eminence and unchallengeable hegemony worldwide. It has enmeshed Russia in Ukraine/Europe and is embroiling China in the Indo-Pacific and the Himalayas.

The European strategic environment has been further vitiated by Russia’s assertion that it will not be averse to using (tactical?) nuclear warheads against Ukraine. The US-led West has threatened Russia unabashedly with untold devastation (retaliatory nuclear strikes?) were it to exercise such an abominable option.

Of late, both belligerents have claimed that the other was preparing “dirty bombs” for use in false flag operations against the other. The strategic environment in Europe is thus threatening to degenerate fast into the nuclear domain. Ominously, President Joe Biden dragged South Asia into the nuclear debate too by characterising Pakistan as a dangerous nuclear weapon state that lacked cohesion. Why at this point in time? Whatever POTUS says is never without meaning, import or implication!

Kaira says unconditional dialogue only option to address political issues

On independence Ukraine held one-third of the erstwhile USSR’s nuclear arsenal including ICBMs, heavy bombers, 1700 warheads, command and control infrastructure etc. Under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, the US, UK and Russia persuaded it to give up all of its nuclear arsenal and vowed to guarantee its safety and territorial integrity (Geopolitics sans morality, by this scribe, The Nation, 12 March 2022).

Ukraine concurred then and now must be roundly ruing and repenting its decision to “denuclearise itself”. Had it held on to its nuclear arsenal it would have never met this horrendous fate. It could have easily deterred Russia’s military adventure against it and simultaneously warded off pressures from NATO to join it. It could have genuinely retained and upheld its independence, liberty and freedom of action.

Now, as the US-led West continues to stoke the war, it finds a third of its territory under Russian occupation, a large part of its population as refugees, its industry and economy more or less destroyed. Yet, the use of nuclear weapons/dirty bombs is still being contemplated over its territories and peoples.

Sardar Balakh Sher Mazari dies aged 95, PM extends condolences

Pakistan must critically analyse the Ukraine war, draw the relevant deductions and lessons while focusing on Ukraine’s crucial and almost fatal inability to deter this war.

Pakistan’s needs for a nuclear deterrent stem from the very adverse strategic environment around it which is undergoing a very subtle albeit dynamic and grave change. Generally speaking, Pakistan has faced its most serious existential threat from the East, that is India. However, there is now a regional dimension emerging in addition to this bilateral one.

India and China now sit eyeball to eyeball along the LAC especially Ladakh. Pakistan and India have hundreds of thousands of troops sitting astride the LOC for decades. This pitches three of the world’s most formidable military-nuclear-missile forces against one another in a very congested potential theatre of war; reiterating and reinforcing the larger IIOJ&KR’s notoriety as the world’s likeliest nuclear flashpoint.

Federal govt considers taking over Punjab Governor House’s security

The US, India’s strategic partner and mentor, lurks ominously in the background, further accentuating the fragility, volatility, sensitivity and destructiveness inherent in the region’s evolving strategic environment. Pakistan cannot ignore the probability of a large-scale war in the region or the possibility of getting sucked into one quite unintentionally.

It must never let its guard down, be caught unprepared, unawares, unarmed or ominously speaking, “disarmed”. It must always retain its unmitigated, uncompromised capacity and power to deter war and preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The US-India Combine’s strategic design will ostensibly aim to isolate China in the region. To that end, it will be imperative to neutralise Pakistan (a la Indo-China war, 1962?) to improve India’s relative strategic balance and its force ratios vis a vis China.

What form can that “neutralisation” of Pakistan take? Will it essentially include the defanging of its nuclear capabilities and capacities?

Plan in place to assassinate me like Salman Taseer, Imran Khan addresses nation

The US-led West’s build-up of India as a counterweight to China has enhanced its nuclear, missile and military prowess substantially. By default, India thus acquires corresponding and increasing numerical and technical superiority over Pakistan. This drastically increases the differential in force ratios between the two, creates a critical strategic imbalance and seriously aggravates Pakistan’s threat perceptions. It consequently sets in motion a perpetual, vicious and repetitive cycle of arms acquisitions and developments where India endeavours to match China and Pakistan moves to maintain strategic balance with India.

[(Ab)Normal Nuclear Pakistan, by this scribe, The Nation, 23 November 2015]. There is a very perceptible differential in the conventional forces of India and Pakistan. This differential is equalised by Pakistan’s nuclear assets. That is why one calls them the Equalisers; they equalise the odds for Pakistan. The larger the differential between the conventional forces, the more will be Pakistan’s reliance on its strategic assets and the lower will its nuclear thresholds sink. Therefore, it becomes imperative for Pakistan to not only maintain a viable force ratio but also a critical strategic balance with its nemesis to the East!

PTI top brass demands to remove PM Shehbaz, Sanaullah

The world must recognise and accept the centrality of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and assets in its defence and its survival as a sovereign independent state. They are uncompromisable. They allow it to deter war and aggression and reap the ensuing peace dividends therefrom. This was so evident and proven in the 2001-02 military stand-off with India where Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities played their cardinal role in deterring Indian military adventurism.

Defanging Pakistan has been one of the most fervent, critical and yet unattained strategic objectives of the US-led West. (Securing Pak Nukes, by this scribe, Opinion Maker, a now-defunct website, November 2011). Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the development of its strategic assets have always been under scrutiny by the international community.

Multifarious attempts were made to prevent it from acquiring this capability. However, despite all threats, inducements, sanctions, ostracisations, vilifications etc Pakistan has remained steadfast, single-minded and determined in acquiring military-nuclear-missile capabilities to deter all would-be aggressors. It has succeeded in what truly was a national endeavor!

However, where do the threats to Pakistan’s nuclear assets/programme and by default its sovereignty, emanate from?

The China Warns the Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Xi warns Putin nuclear weapons in Ukraine is a red line. So much for a ‘no limits’ friendshipnngg gclb

Mg l l. Nnn thanks


November 4, 2022 at 11:21 AM MDT

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes German Chancelor Olaf Scholz at the Grand Hall in Beijing on Friday.


Chinese President Xi Jinping told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz he opposed the use of nuclear force in Europe, in his most direct remarks yet on the need to keep Russia’s war in Ukraine from escalating. 


During the two leaders’ first in-person talks on Friday in Beijing, Xi called on the international community to “reject the threat of nuclear weapons” and advocate against a nuclear war to prevent a “crisis on the Eurasian continent,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese leader also spoke of the joint need to ensure the stability of food and energy supply chains, which have both been disrupted by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin officials including former President Dmitry Medvedev have warned in recent months about the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine as Moscow’s faltering war enters its tenth month. 

Xi’s comments send a clear message to Putin that nuclear threats are a red line for China, giving Beijing some common ground with Brussels on a conflict that’s strained ties with the bloc. The Chinese leader’s declaration of a “no limits” friendship with Putin before the invasion prompted Europe to reexamine the security risks of expanding economic ties with Beijing. 

After a meeting in Muenster, Germany, foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations said Friday that “Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable.” They added: “Any use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.”

Josef Gregory Mahoney, a professor of politics at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said Xi’s comments would please those in Europe who’d hoped China would use its position as a “friend of Russia” to deter Moscow against nuclear threats.

“Xi’s remarks are unambiguous here, against both the use and threats of use of nuclear weapons,” he said. “That will be interpreted by some as a very important message.”

Scholz is the first major European leader to visit China in more than two years, as Xi returns to in-person diplomacy after his long spell of self-imposed Covid isolation stifled such exchanges. The German leader, who is joined on the one-day trip by top executives from BASF SE, Volkswagen AG, Deutsche Bank AG and BioNTech SE, is also the first from the bloc to meet Xi after he clinched a precedent-defying third term in office last month.

The German leader said his trip came at a “time of great tension,” as Russia’s war in Ukraine challenged the rules-based order, and stressed the importance of face-to-face dialogue. “We can now talk concretely and directly with each other to respond to the challenges the world is facing and the bilateral relations between Europe and China,” he said in a statement. 

“Destroying political trust is easy, but rebuilding it is difficult, so it requires both sides to take care of it,” Xi told Scholz, according to Xinhua. In a press briefing after meeting Premier Li Keqiang on Friday afternoon, Scholz said he’d urged China to use its influence over Russia to deter it from nuclear force. 

Xi has engaged in a flurry of diplomacy this week, hosting top foreign leaders from Vietnam, Pakistan and Tanzania as he begins a third term focused on increasing China’s global influence. The Chinese leader didn’t leave his nation for two years after Covid emerged, a period that saw Beijing’s ties with the West sour over Xi’s crackdown on Hong Kong, treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and military pressure on Taiwan. 

Later this month, Xi is expected to expand that outreach campaign at major summits in Thailand and Indonesia, where he could sit down with President Joe Biden for the first time since the US leader took power. That meeting could ease hostilities between the world’s two largest economies, which have reached a new low during the pandemic.

While Xi seems to have eased his own virus restrictions, meeting dignitaries in person and appearing unmasked in public, the nation’s Covid Zero policy remains in play. The German delegation had to take two PCR tests before landing in Beijing, and another on arrival, while workers wearing hazmat suits were seen rolling out a red carpet for Scholz. 

Xi’s efforts to solidify ties with Germany this week are part of a broader push to prevent relations with the European Union from further deteriorating. Last year, the EU halted an investment agreement with China after both sides traded sanctions over Xinjiang, where the US has accused Beijing of genocide. China denies such allegations.   

For its part, Berlin is working to hone a new national strategy on China that aims to weaken reliance, diversify supply chains and enhance security, while reinforcing business ties. That handed Scholz the delicate balancing act of pushing trade ties in Beijing, while voicing concerns on sensitive issues. 

Noah Barkin, managing editor of the Rhodium Group’s China practice, said that while Scholz will likely view Xi’s warning to Moscow on nuclear force as a victory, the Chinese leader still hadn’t turned his back on Putin.

“The lessons of the past year are that Xi will stick with Putin through thick and thin,” Barkin said, adding that Scholz’s push to deepen economic ties with Beijing was at odds with his own government’s aims. “It will raise questions among Germany’s allies in Europe, the US and Asia about where Berlin really stands.”

—With assistance by Colum Murphy, Birgit Jennen, Sarah Zheng and John Follain

Israel Says Jets Hit Hamas Military Site Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

An Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter plane performs at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, on June 29, 2017
 File photo: an Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter plane performs at an air show during the graduation of new cadet pilots at Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, on June 29, 2017. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

 Home/Air/Israel Says Jets Hit Hamas Military Site After Rocket Fire


Israel Says Jets Hit Hamas Military Site After Rocket Fire


Israeli fighter jets early Friday targeted a rocket manufacturing site in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired towards Israel, the army said.

One of the rockets was intercepted and three others “exploded inside the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had said earlier Thursday.

“In response… IDF fighter jets targeted overnight (Friday) an underground military site in the Gaza Strip used as a rocket developing and manufacturing complex”, the military said.

The facility belonged to Hamas, it added.

The impoverished Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been under Israeli blockade since 2007 when Iran-backed Hamas seized power from the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

The rocket launches on Thursday were the first since a three-day conflict in August between Israel and another Iran-backed militant group, Islamic Jihad.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday’s launches, which came hours after a final vote count gave former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right allies a clear majority in parliament after elections.

On Thursday in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli forces killed Farouq Salameh, an “operative belonging to the Islamic Jihad,” during a raid, the army said, blaming him for several attacks targeting its forces.

George Bush’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

Saddam Hussein’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

There is plenty of mainstream media vitriol nowadays aimed at ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories from amateur outlets — outrageous when it has never owned up to the pro-war nonsense it published about Iraq, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

NEXT year is the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, so after Christmas we will see lots of newspaper articles looking back on the start of the ugly war built on lies.

That means this year is the anniversary of when the lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) were spread, because it took at least a year to push the propaganda needed for war.

But I don’t think we will see so much “20 years on” reflection in the media about the spread of those lies, because the media itself did the spreading. The British media like to talk about the British and US governments spreading lies about Iraq, but has always avoided taking responsibility for its own, even wilder lies.

Let’s take one example. Around 20 years ago the Spectator claimed Nelson Mandela’s South Africa was helping Hussein build nuclear weapons. It was a completely mad claim made without evidence. But neither magazine nor author has ever reflected on, or faced any consequence for, spreading this dangerous “fake news,” which was part of a huge “conspiracy theory” — supposedly two ills the media likes to fight.

The basic story about Hussein’s WMDs was this elaborate conspiracy theory: Hussein was importing materials to make nuclear weapons, nerve gases and germ bombs. He would share materials made in his secret subterranean factories with al-Qaida terrorists. It was unhinged stuff.

Hussein was pictured like a James Bond villain with underground bases, secretly working with his sworn enemy, Osama Bin Laden, to attack the West. This elaborate chain of lies was an attempt to link Hussein to the September 11 terrorist attacks and justify a war.

Literally none of it was true. Hussein didn’t have WMDs and wasn’t in league with al-Qaida. But this fake tale was made to look more substantial by a big patchwork of ludicrous stories, including this contribution from the Spectator.

South Africa’s ANC government, like many, opposed the drive to war. So, Mark Steyn, a right-wing columnist who is still a figure in that world — he now presents a show on GB News — set out to discredit South Africa.

Steyn wrote a substantial, two-page article in the Spectator on October 5 2002, with the outlandish claim South Africa was helping Iraq enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

He wrote: “Mr Mandela’s country has been busy selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Hussein. The first secretary of the South African embassy in Jordan is serving as the local sales rep to Iraqi procurement agents.

“Thanks to these sterling efforts, they’re bringing significantly closer the day when the entire Middle East, much of Africa and even Europe will be under the Husseinite nuclear umbrella and thus safe from Bush’s aggression.”

Enriching uranium in powerful centrifuges is a crucial part of making nuclear bombs. But there was no evidence here. South Africa was not selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Iraq, which was not making atomic weapons.

Iraq did once have a nuclear weapons programme, including during the years when Iraq was a western ally. But this programme had been entirely dismantled in 1992, after the first Gulf War, as Hussein’s government repeatedly stated.

Steyn produced no proof for his tubular tall tale or his other claim that South Africa’s embassy in Jordan was helping arm Iraq. It was made-up rubbish.

The tale was slightly related to a more mainstream, but also fake story. The US government claimed an Iraqi attempt to import many aluminium tubes from China in 2001 showed it wanted to use them in uranium enrichment for a nuclear bomb.

All serious experts could see Iraq actually did have a military use for the tubes — for battlefield rockets — that was nothing to do with WMD. But at least the widely repeated fake US story involved real tubes.

The Spectator “scoop” was a complete fantasy. It added to the WMD panic that helped start the war — but then simply disappeared from the record. Neither Steyn nor the Spectator ever referred to it again. The story isn’t even on the Spectator website.

Steyn is still taken seriously despite writing “fake news” — he was recently interviewed on Radio 4 Today as an “expert.” The Spectator itself trundles on.

Steyn trying to bring Mandela into the WMD fake stories was an outlier. But media promotion of stories too absurd for any government dossier was common in more supposedly “respectable” outlets.

Take, for example, the Observer splashing on “evidence linking Iraqi intelligence to the September 11 hijackers,” asserting “several apparent links between Iraq, the September 11 hijackers and bin Laden’s al-Qaida network” including multiple meetings between Iraqi intelligence officers and the hijackers and a claim foreign terrorists were “training to hijack aircraft using only knives or bare hands” inside an old Boeing 707 on a secret Iraqi government base near Baghdad. All fantasies based on unconvincing claims by pro-war propagandists.

Or the BBC Panorama programme promoting fake tales from an Iraqi fraudster — who had been rejected by the CIA — claiming he helped build underground WMD storage sites “hidden away in heavily populated areas, even under a hospital in Baghdad.”

Or the Times promoting a supposed former Iraqi nuclear scientist who had been “Saddam’s bomb-maker” saying Iraq “could be in a position to make three nuclear weapons within the next few months.” Only the “scientist’s” stories were fake. He had already been linked to another set of forged documents and fake nuclear claims exposed by the International Atomic Energy Authority in 1995.

These are just a sample of the fake tales of Hussein’s weapons pumped out by the media, 2002-3. They went well beyond any official government claim and were based on transparently unconvincing “evidence” — usually just unchecked assertions by Iraqi “exiles.”

The media felt happy to tell any lies about an “official enemy” like Iraq, were unembarrassed when it led to a bloody war, and has never even admitted it published “fake news,” let alone tried to understand why or stop itself from doing it again.

The US and German Horn’s Unify: Daniel 7

US, Germany Draw Close Over Iran, Ukraine

20 hours ago3 minutes

Author: Iran International Newsroom

IranWorldForeign RelationsUkraine Crisis

Iran sits amid a crowded agenda at the G7 meeting in Munster, Germany, as the bloc grapples with multiple challenges centered on Ukraine.

After tensions during the Donald Trump presidency, the two-day gathering concluding Friday shows a tight relationship between the United States and Germany, currently chairing the G7 bloc that also includes Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, from Alliance 90/The Greens, has spoken out over protests in Iran since mid-September, and Thursday Berlin warned citizens in Iran to leave due to a “concrete risk of being arbitrarily arrested.” In another sign of deteriorating relations, Iran-Iraq war veterans gathered outside the German embassy in Tehran this week to highlight German firms helping Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons.

At a US-German Futures Forum Friday in Munster with Antony Blinken, Baerbock described the US Secretary of State, whom she has met ten times since taking office ten months ago, as a friend. Blinken praised as “extraordinary” the “the leadership of the German foreign minister.”

Blinken said that in setting “rules for how technology is used,” the US and Germany had to “make sure that the values we stand for…carry the day.” He noted that the “vast democratization of information technology” and highlighted recent US decisions to lift any threat of sanctions against those supplying internet-access technology to Iran.

Baerbock referred to opportunities for online education she had recently seen in Egypt, where the COP27 United Nations climate conference begins Sunday. The German foreign minister said the G7 meeting had linked information technology to “democracy and freedom,” which she said underlay Berlin’s approach to Iran.

Baerbock pledged to bring “atrocities” to UN bodies and said “democratic economic powers” needed a majority on UN human rights bodies. The US has called for Iran to be removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

In recognition of recent blows to Germany and European Union expectations of trade bringing states together politically – which underlay both Russian energy supplies and the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – Baerbock said “we have learned” this was not always true.

Tanks, jets, drones

The US and Germany, respectively the largest and second largest arms supplier to Kyiv, appear to be the same page over Ukraine. Wary of Russian escalation, both have resisted calls for advanced weapons, with Ukraine seeking Leopard 2 tanks and Marder armored infantry vehicles from Berlin, and F-16 jets from Washington.

The US and Germany, along with France and the UK, have raised the issue of Iranian-made drones at the UN Security Council, arguing that any supply contravenes the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and justifies ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions on Tehran. Given vagaries over ‘snapback,’ and experts’ disagreements as to whether drones as relatively light weapons violate the 2015 agreement, the move may be intended to deter Iran from sending missiles.

In an interview with Dubai-based al-Arabiya published Friday, Rob Malley, the US Iran special envoy, said Iran was “embarrassed” as it had become “clear to the world” that it had “sided with Russia and its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Domestic criticism

Further underlying US-Germany cooperation is shared experience of center-left governments facing domestic criticism. With US aid to Ukraine at $50 billion so far, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy last month ruled out a “blank check,” and some Republican candidates in November 8 Congressional elections are critical of such support for Ukraine when Americans face rising bills. In Germany opposition politicians have queried the €200 billion allocated to citizens and companies over energy price hikes due to the Ukraine war.

A further complication facing both the German-US relationship and the G7, is the rise of China. While the US has cautioned other countries over Beijing’s involvement in key sectors, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, arrived in China Saturday seeking “economic ties as equals, with reciprocity.” Chinese-made parts in globally manufactured items may include some, alongside European and US components, in Iranian drones, the Institute for Science and International Security said in a recent report.

Without the Antichrist, the Iraqi State is Still Struggling to Function

New Government or Not, the Iraqi State is Still Struggling to Function

Bargaining over the resources of the government is set to remain just one expression of the struggle for authority in Iraq. Actual sovereignty is likely to continue to be a coercive negotiation backed by various substate militias’ force of arms and financial interests.

Neil Partrick


Iraq’s failing state is symbolized not caused by the struggle to form a government among its sectarian political players. Twelve months on from the last parliamentary elections, amid periodic violent clashes and angry protests in Baghdad and the south, a new Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed al-Sudani, has been appointed. However, Sudani is merely the figurehead of one set of Shia political factions and is liable to be as much a spectator of his country’s fate as was his predecessor, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The State Administration Coalition that has formed the new government is an alliance of the Shia-led Coordination Framework with the two leading Kurdish parties – the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan – and a loose alignment of Sunni Arab politicians. Despite its name, this “State Administration Coalition” has very little to do with the state even though it has succeeded in securing the backing of many of Iraq’s leading politicians.

Rival Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s objective of a majority government, i.e., one with a hoped-for independent parliamentary opposition, isn’t quite dead though. This is despite the failure of Sadr’s yearlong fight to achieve it and the success of Sadr’s rival, Nuri Al-Maliki, the former prime minister and the Coordination Framework’s leading political player, in getting the government he wanted. In June, Sadr had renounced the parliamentary seats that his faction secured in the October 2021 parliamentary elections, and in late July he used his armed militia to storm Parliament and other branches of government in a bid to undermine the Coordination Framework’s efforts to form a new government. Sadr’s focus now will be on using his extra-parliamentary armed strength to, ironically, demand Shia militia disarmament in most of Iraq and, more plausibly perhaps, his faction’s accommodation in governmental arrangements that will likely include controversial electoral law changes ahead of an expected new poll in the next 12-18 months.

The intra-Kurdish division that had contributed to the yearlong political stasis was eventually parked to facilitate the election of the new, figurehead Iraqi president (a de facto Kurdish job since 2003). Reaching Kurdish consensus on Abdul Latif Rashid becoming president was the prerequisite for wider political agreement on Sudani and the coalition government that the KDP and PUK joined.

Ironically, the State Administration Coalition government has in part been bought at the price of increasing tensions between the Kurdish authorities and the central “federal” government of which it is a part. The long-standing Kurdish demand that the constitutional provision for a plebiscite on the future status of oil-rich Kirkuk be acted on and that the Kurdish Peshmerga militia be able to operate there and in Diyala, southeast of Baghdad, may be held off until Kurdish demographics are more suitable. Iraqi federalism, however, will continue to struggle to function amid ongoing oil sovereignty rows between Baghdad and the self-ruled Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government. More worrying, the official territorial delimitations of the KRG cannot contain Kurdish sovereign ambitions that risk more tension with Shia militias affiliated with the Kurds’ Iraqi government partners. Managing these apparently irreconcilable interests is partly a cynical function of substate politics. The Iraqi state’s weakness enables various militias, Shia and Kurdish, to run both oil smuggling and oil security in their respective fiefdoms.

Although a new government has been agreed upon, the Iraqi state’s functionality will remain beholden to confessional and intra-confessional interests, militia rivalry, and sectional government job quotas, as indicated by a longer study on the structure and exercise of power in Iraq. In such a context, the state, as in the sovereign controller of territory, is almost absent. During recent violence in Basra between Sadr’s militia and the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, led by Qais Khazali, an Iraqi security official told Asharq Al-Awsat that his forces’ role in containing the violence was confined to mediating between the warring parties and that if they’re successful “the army and police patrols are deployed to show the strength of the state.”

Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq is one of several of the Shia-dominated Popular Mobilization Forces that follow the line of Iran in political and even spiritual terms. Khazali is part of the Shia-led Coordination Framework that negotiated a lead role in the new government. Iran’s role in that process was largely to encourage political accommodation among its disparate friends. These include major PMF figures, such as Maliki and the head of the Badr militia and political faction, Hadi al-Amiri. Iran also has a strong connection to the ostensibly anti-Iranian Sadr, the leading Sunni Arab actor and speaker of parliament, Mohammed Halbousi, and the KDP’s Kurdish rival, the PUK.

Iran’s ongoing missile attacks on KDP territory in Iraq are mostly due to Iran’s domestic upheaval, opposition to KDP territory being used to house dissident Iranian Kurdish groups, and pressure to ensure the appointment of a sympathetic government in Baghdad. The latter has essentially been realized. Though Iran is not the only country compromising Iraqi sovereignty. Turkey is intervening on the ground in northwestern Iraq in what it claims is an anti-PUK operation – an argument regularly used by Ankara as justification for Turkey’s periodic occupation of Iraqi territory. According to a number of Saudi and Iraqi accounts, Saudi Arabia in the past was a leading financier of Sunni Arab discontent in Iraq, however, these days it is seemingly preferring to diversify its attempted guiding of Iraqi politics

Arguments abound among leading Iraqi political actors as to who or what is the greatest infringement on Iraqi sovereignty and thus Iraq’s limited state functionality. The PMF sees itself as the savior of Iraqi sovereignty against the still residual presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In fact, some Shia politicians argue that the KRG’s self-rule authority and periodic U.S. airstrikes are the real offenders against Iraqi national integrity. Iraq’s official state security forces are multifarious, competitive, politically compromised, and often lack clear and defined lines of formal authority. The ineffectiveness of the security forces demonstrates how Iraq’s state sovereignty is by definition weak, since the state doesn’t have a monopoly over the use of force, even if various semi- and substate militias claim to be defending national security in what otherwise can be a territorial vacuum.

As platforms of patronage and influence, the key positions within official state security forces are often held by PMF members, which is unsurprising given that political factions close to the PMF exercise great weight within the interior and other security ministries and departments. In the context of Iraqi state weakness, tribes’ importance as an informal political force also overlaps with, and underpins, PMF militia membership and strength in the south. Tribes also underpin some Sunni Arab sheikhs’ continued exercise of traditional authority, try as aspiring Sunni Arab leaders, like Halbousi, do to marshal such forces behind them.

The anger of youth protesters organized as the Tishreen movement is likely to continue to be motivated, in part, in opposition to Iranian political intervention in Iraq that is popularly seen as reinforcing a weak state riddled with corruption and unable to ensure adequate public services and infrastructure. The Iraqi state’s weakness is reinforced by interest-based domestic politics absorbing many of the successfully elected independent members of parliament, including those professing to be the political wing of the Tishreen movement who are likely to remain powerless to change the status quo.

Bargaining over the resources of the government is set to remain just one expression of the struggle for authority in Iraq. Actual sovereignty is likely to continue to be a coercive negotiation backed by various substate militias’ force of arms and financial interests. In this environment, other Iraqis have little choice but to continue to look to sect or tribe to provide the material and identity benefits that the state fails to secure.