China Horn opposing nuclear weapons in Ukraine

German Chancellor Scholz visits China
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China November 4, 2022. Kay Nietfeld/Pool via REUTERS

Xi opposing nuclear weapons in Ukraine was reason enough to visit China, Scholz says

an hour ago

BERLIN, Nov 5 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was heavily criticised for a trip to Beijing this week, said on Saturday his and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s joint statement opposing the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine had been reason enough for the visit.

Scholz’s comments came a day after his visit to the world’s second-biggest economy alongside German corporate CEOs, the first by a G7 leader since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because the Chinese government, the president and I were able to declare that no nuclear weapons should be used in this war, that alone made the whole trip worthwhile,” Scholz said during an event of his Social Democratic party.

Xi, who secured a third leadership term two weeks ago, agreed that both leaders “jointly oppose the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” over Ukraine, but refrained from criticising Russia or calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops.

Scholz, who has been criticised for seeming to continue a strategy that exposes Germany’s economy excessively to China, its most important trading partner, said diversifying was key to limit possible repercussions should the relationship sour.

“We have a clear plan, and we are following it through. And that means diversifying for all the countries we trade with, especially, of course, a country that is so big and has such a large share of the world economy,” Scholz said.

“We will continue economic exchange with China … But it’s also clear, we’re going to position ourselves to be able to deal with a situation at any time where there are difficulties – whether it’s 10 years from now or 30 years.”

During his trip Scholz told business leaders, including the CEOs of Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), BASF (BASFn.DE), Siemens (SIEGn.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE), Merck (MRCG.DE) and BioNTech (22UAy.DE), to not put diversification on the backburner, a delegation source said.

At the closed-door meeting, he said it would take around 10-15 years to completely de-risk.

A separate government source said the impression was that the message had sunk in and that companies were diversifying while developing China ties.

This is particularly key for Germany’s carmakers active in China, the world’s top market, including Volkswagen, which has repeatedly been slammed for its plant in the Xinjiang region given reports of human rights violations there.

Battery materials, which are needed for packs that power electric vehicles, are also in focus. German automakers depend on China for lithium, nickel and cobalt, while Europe has launched programmes to build its own supply but is not there yet.

Germany’s business relationship with China has come under closer scrutiny since February when Russia invaded Ukraine, which led to the end of a decade-long energy relationship with Moscow and caused numerous companies to ditch their local businesses.

This has fuelled concerns over the potential consequences for Germany’s economy should China invade Taiwan.

“Start now, don’t put it on the back burner. Do it now,” Scholz said at a party event in comments which appeared directed at business leaders regarding diversification.

The Russian Horn Makes More Nuclear Threats: Revelation 16

Putin is understood to have made the remarks to Emmanuel Macron
Putin is understood to have made the remarks to Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Alamy

Putin ‘makes chilling Hiroshima nuclear threat’ during call with Macron

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a chilling threat referencing the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a conversation with France’s Emmanuel Macron.


6 November 2022, 9:09

The tyrant alarmed Western leaders after saying the 1945 atom bomb was proof “you don’t have to launch nuclear strike on a major city to win a war”, diplomatic sources said.

It comes amid growing concerns that he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine after overseeing massive nuclear exercises in Russia.

The US detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 people.

Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 15.

Putin has caused concerns he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine
Putin has caused concerns he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

“Macron was distinctly alarmed,” a source said. 

“It sounded like a very heavy hint that Putin might detonate a tactical nuclear weapon in the east of Ukraine, while leaving Kyiv intact.

“That appeared to be the thrust of his remarks.”

A French government source told the Mail on Sunday: “The two presidents have undoubtedly discussed the risk of nuclear weapons use. 

“Putin wants to get the message across that all options are on the table, in line with Russian doctrine relating to nuclear weapons.”French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife. Picture: Alamy

Putin previously warned that if Western forces endangered the “integrity” of Russian territory then he would “certainly use all the means at our disposal”.

Speaking in September, he said: “Our country also has various high-impact weapons, in some ways more powerful than those of Nato countries and in case of a threat against our country’s territorial integrity, we will certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff.”

He went on to say in an interview a month later that France would “evidently” not use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack on Ukraine.

However, former British PM Boris Johnson remains convinced that Putin would not go as far as to use the weapons due to the consequences Russia will face on the global stage.

“I don’t think he will, he’d be crazy to do so,” Mr Johnson told Sky.

He said it would mean Putin “would immediately tender Russia’s resignation from the club of civilised nations”, adding that it will be a “total disaster” for the country.

Why Biden’s attempt to revive the Obama deal is faltering


Why Biden’s attempt to revive the Iran deal is faltering

Robert Malley may not technically be a diplomat, but he walks and talks like one. A specialist in the Middle East, Malley has extensive experiencein government. He had an integral role in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the deal that limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. President Biden brought him into his administration as his special envoy to Iran in the hope he could find some way to bring both Washington and Tehran back into an agreement.

Nineteen months later, Malley himself bluntly admitted that the talks were, if not dead, then frozen for the foreseeable future. Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Malley said the Biden administration is no longer thinking much about the negotiations. “It is not on our agenda,” Malley said. “We are not going to focus on something which is inert when other things are happening… and we are not going to waste our time” if Iran continues to stake out a maximalist position.

Unfortunately for Malley and his team, Iran’s position has been the definition of unhelpful. While the Iranians have always been shrewd negotiators, American officials have been extremely frustrated with Tehran’s negotiating tactics. Whenever it appears as if a draft agreement is ready for signing, Iran’s negotiating team pulls back and brings up disputed points the Americans and Europeans thought were already resolved. Iran now remains insistent on two key points: the ongoing IAEA investigation into its past nuclear activities needs to be dropped, and the Biden administration must provide guarantees that a future president won’t be able to do what Trump did by arbitrarily leaving the agreement.

To US officials, these demands are not only excessive but patently absurd. The IAEA investigation, they argue, will be closed on the merits, not on a whim. If Iran wants IAEA inspectors to stop nosing around and asking questions, then it needs to cooperate with the agency and give sufficient explanations for why uranium particles were found in undeclared nuclear facilities. As far as Biden being able to prevent a future president from leaving the accord, Washington has tried to explain that Biden has no such power. “We’ve told them [Iran] since we started talking indirectly around March 2021… we can’t control what the next president does,” Malley said on NPR last month. “So if that’s something that Iran insists upon, there’s no point in negotiating.”

If returning to the JCPOA a few months ago was about as painful as pulling teeth, it’s now akin to getting operated on without anesthesia. The domestic politics of negotiating with the Iranians on any issue is never great. Yet serious policymakers understand there are circumstances when it’s wise to talk to atrocious regimes, particularly when the subject involves a possible nuclear breakout. But the current environment, both inside Iran and out, is complicating this type of statesmanship.

Inside Iran, a leaderless protest movement continues to percolate. Originally sparked by the late September death of Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two-year-old woman picked up by the morality police for what the authorities regarded as insufficiently modest dress, the protests have transformed into a broad-based resistance movement against the forty-three-year-old Islamic Republic. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may boast about the durability of the system he has led for more than three decades, but the octogenarian cleric is clearly disturbed by the unrest. The Iranian security forces have shown no mercy to the demonstrators; according to the United Nations, over 14,000 people have been arrested over the last six weeks, and at least 277 have been killed.

Events outside Iran are also dampening the prospects of getting the JCPOA back up and running. Tehran has been one of a few (with North Korea and Belarus being the others) to have provided Putin with some type of military support in Ukraine. Iran has sold Russia hundreds of cheaply made “kamikaze” drones, which Russian forces are using in part to target and destroy Ukraine’s energy facilities. US officials have stated that Iranian military advisers were deployed to Crimea for a short time to teach Russian personnel how to pilot the drones effectively. The Iranians are also reportedly preparing to send Russia precision surface-to-surface missiles — the very weapons systems Moscow is running short of after eight months of combat.

The internal crackdown and Iranian military aid to Russia have nothing whatsoever to do with the nuclear file. But it’s increasingly clear that Washington is connecting all three of these issues together. For the White House, haggling with the Iranians over sanctions relief at the same time Tehran is shooting protesters in the streets and arming Putin’s war of conquest isn’t a good look, even if this type of haggling is exactly what is required to keep the Iranian nuclear program in check.

Antichrist refuses to join new government

Iraq’s Sadrist camp refuses to join new government

Associate of Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr says new government to be formed by Mohammad Shia al-Sudani has a ‘clear subordination to militias’.

Iraqi firebrand leader Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement announced its refusal to join a new government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Mohammad Shia al-Sudani.

Saturday’s announcement came two days after lawmakers elected Abdul Latif Rashid as Iraq’s new president, and he swiftly named al-Sudani as prime minister in a bid to end a year of political gridlock since the October 2021 elections.

“We stress our firm and clear refusal for any of our affiliates to participate … in this government formation,” Mohammed Saleh al-Iraqi, a close associate of al-Sadr, said on Twitter.

The 52-year-old Shia former minister al-Sudani has the backing of al-Sadr’s Iran-backed rivals, the Coordination Framework, which controls 138 out of 329 seats in the Iraqi legislature.

In June, al-Sadr ordered the 73 legislators in his bloc to resign, leaving parliament in the hands of the Framework, which includes representatives of the former paramilitary force Hashd al-Shaabi.

In his statement on Saturday, al-Iraqi alleged the incoming government has a “clear subordination to militias” and would “not meet the people’s aspirations”.

The Sadrist official said the movement refused to take part in any government led by al-Sudani “or any other candidate from among the old faces or those affiliated with the corrupt”.

“Anyone who joins their ministries does not represent us … Rather, we disavow them,” al-Iraqi said.

Snap elections were held last year following nationwide protests that erupted in October 2019 to decry endemic corruption, decaying infrastructure, and the absence of services and jobs for youth.The stakes are high for the next cabinet with a colossal $87bn in revenues from oil exports locked up in the central bank’s coffers.The money can help rebuild infrastructure in the war-ravaged country, but it can only be invested after legislators approve a state budget presented by the government, once formed.Al-Sudani promised on Thursday to push through “economic reforms” that would revitalise Iraq’s industry, agriculture and private sector.The prime minister-designate also promised to provide young Iraqis “employment opportunities and housing”.Al-Sadr, who has the ability to mobilise tens of thousands of his supporters with a single tweet, has repeatedly demanded early elections, while the Coordination Framework wants a new government in place before any polls are held.Tensions between the two rival Shia camps boiled over on August 29 when more than 30 al-Sadr supporters were killed in clashes with Iran-backed factions and the army in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions.

US Sounds Warning Over the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Navy Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 8, 2022.

US military nuclear chief sounds the alarm about pace of China’s nuclear weapons program

By Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr, CNN

Published 2:17 PM EDT, Fri November 4, 2022

Navy Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 8, 2022.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty ImagesCNN — 

The Commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear weapons program, warned that China is developing nuclear weapons much faster than the US and called the issue a “near-term problem,” during a speech at a closed event earlier this week.

While Pentagon officials have been sounding the alarm about China’s military buildup and development of nuclear weapons for years, Richard’s comments paint the situation as more dire than other officials have stated publicly.

“As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking,” Adm. Charles Richard said. “It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are.”

Richard called the development of China’s nuclear weapons program a “near-term problem.”

“As those curves keep going, it isn’t going to matter how good our [operating plan] is or how good our commanders are, or how good our forces are – we’re not going to have enough of them. And that is a very near-term problem.”

Richard made the comments during a speaking engagement at the Naval Submarine League Annual Symposium on Wednesday. The event was closed to the public, but Richard’s comments were published in a Department of Defense news article Friday.

The Biden administration has consistently called China the US’s main global competitor and warned about the country’s development of its military and nuclear weapons program in a series of policy documents explaining the US’s defense and military strategy released at the end of October.

China is the US’s “pacing challenge” because it is “the only competitor with both the intent and increasingly the capability to systematically challenge the United States across the board, militarily, economically, technologically, diplomatically,” a senior defense official said about the strategy.

China “likely intends to possess at least 1,000 deliverable warheads by the end of the decade,” the Nuclear Posture Review, one of the policy documents, said of China’s nuclear weapons program.

Richard warned of China’s nuclear development in 2021, calling their program a “strategic breakout.”

“We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking, and, frankly, that word breathtaking may not be enough,” Richard said in 2021.

Death Toll Rises in the Iranian Horn

A scene from protest in Khash October 4, where 16 people were reported killed

A scene from protest in Khash October 4, where 16 people were reported killed

Protests Death Toll Rises To 304; Tehran Youths Call For More Demos

Iran Protests

The anonymous group calling itself Tehran Youths has once again issued a call for protests in different neighborhoods of the capital and other cities.

Stressing that they will remain in the streets “until the overthrow of the Islamic Republic,” the group asked people to surge to streets Sunday afternoon in memory of Nima Nouri, a teenager from Karaj, who was killed by the direct fire of regime forces and the innocent people who were killed by “Khamenei’s shameless executioners” in the southeastern city of Khash November 4.

The mobility of protesters and their distribution in various neighborhoods, however, has now turned into a big problem for the security forces who are seen in some videos aimlessly running around to confront protesters and exhausting themselves even more after long hours of deployment.

Meanwhile, in the seventh week of the uprising against the Islamic Republic, protesters in Sanandaj in the northwest turned a funeral procession into a protest scene on Saturday.

The merchants and businessmen in Kordestan province closed their shops Saturday in solidarity with those killed Friday in Sistan and Baluchistan in the southeast.

University students, who have turned protests into a routine during weekdays, also held gatherings, sit-ins chanting antigovernment slogans across the country.

In the meantime, the death toll from the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on Iran’s 2022 protests has increased to 304, including 41 children and 24 women.

The Oslo-based Human Rights Organization said Saturday that the number of yet-to-be-verified reports of casualties is much more than this.