Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago
It happened before, and it could happen again.
By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM
On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.
The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.
According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.
The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.
A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:
“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”
The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.
The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.
The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.
“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”
The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.
“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.”
The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.
There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.
According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.
“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,
that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,
the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;
O turn to God; lest by his Rod,
he cast thee down to Hell.”
Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”
There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.
Well, sort of.
In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”
It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.
In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”
If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Yes, the End Cometh: Revelation 16

The end is nigh? Climate and nuclear crises spark fears of worst

  • A man uses a satellite dish to move children across a flooded area after heavy monsoon rainfalls in Balochistan province, Pakistan, in late August. | AFP-JIJI

For thousands of years, predictions of apocalypse have borne little fruit. But with dangers rising from nuclear war and climate change, does the planet need to at least begin contemplating the worst?

When the world rang in 2022, few would have expected the year to feature the U.S. president speaking of the risk of doomsday, following Russia’s threats to go nuclear in its invasion of Ukraine.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis” in 1962, Joe Biden said in October.

And on the year that the world population reached 8 billion, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the planet was on a “highway to climate hell.”

In extremes widely attributed to climate change, floods submerged one-third of Pakistan, China sweat under an unprecedented 70-day heat wave and crops failed in the Horn of Africa, all while the world lagged behind on the UN-blessed goal of checking warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Nuclear threat

The Global Challenges Foundation, a Swedish group that assesses catastrophic risks, warned in an annual report that the threat of nuclear weapons use was the greatest since 1945 when the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in history’s only atomic attacks.

The report warned that an all-out exchange of nuclear weapons, besides causing an enormous loss of life, would trigger clouds of dust that would obscure the sun, reducing the capacity to grow food and ushering in “a period of chaos and violence, during which most of the surviving world population would die from hunger.”

Kennette Benedict, a lecturer at the University of Chicago who led the report’s nuclear section, said risks were even greater than during the Cuban Missile Crisis as Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared less restrained by advisers.

While any Russian nuclear strike would likely involve small “tactical” weapons, experts fear a quick escalation if the United States responds.

“Then we’re in a completely different ballgame,” said Benedict, a senior adviser to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which in January will unveil its latest assessment of the “doomsday clock” set since 2021 at 100 seconds to midnight.

Amid the focus on Ukraine, U.S. intelligence believes North Korea is ready for a seventh nuclear test, diplomacy has been at a standstill on Iran’s contested nuclear work and tensions between India and Pakistan have remained at a low boil.

But Benedict also faulted the Biden administration’s nuclear posture review which reserved the right for the United States to use nuclear weapons in “extreme circumstances.”

“I think there’s been a kind of steady erosion of the ability to manage nuclear weapons,” she said.

Worst-case climate risks

U.N. experts estimated ahead of November talks in Egypt that the world was on track to warming of 2.1 to 2.9 C — but some outside analysts put the figure well higher, with greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 again hitting a record despite pushes to renewable energy.

Luke Kemp, a Cambridge University expert on existential risks, said the possibility of higher warming was getting insufficient attention, which he blamed on the consensus culture of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and scientists’ fears of being branded alarmist.

“There has been a strong incentive to err on the side of least drama,” he said. “What we really need are more complex assessments of how risks would cascade around the world.”

Climate change could cause ripple effects on food, with multiple breadbasket regions failing, fueling hunger and eventually political unrest and conflict.

Kemp warned against extrapolating from a single year or event. But a research paper he co-authored noted that even a 2 degree temperature rise would put the Earth in territory uncharted since the Ice Age.

Using a medium-high scenario on emissions and population growth, it found that two billion people by 2070 could live in areas with a mean temperature of 29 C, straining water resources — including between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Cases for optimism

The year, however, was not all grim. Vaccinations helped much of the world turn the page on COVID-19, which the World Health Organization estimated in May contributed to the deaths of 14.9 million people in 2020 and 2021.

The world has seen previous warnings of worst-case scenarios, from Thomas Malthus predicting in the 18th century that food production would not keep up with population growth to the 1968 US bestseller “The Population Bomb.”

One of the most prominent current-day critics of pessimism is Harvard professor Steven Pinker, who has argued that violence has declined massively in the modern era.

Speaking after the Ukraine invasion, Pinker acknowledged Putin had brought back interstate war. But he said a failed invasion could also reinforce the positive trends.

Drawing a parallel, he said, “After the biblical Israelites abandoned human sacrifice, they kept having to take measures to prevent backsliding.”

Who Is The Antichrist? Revelation 13:8

Profile: Moqtada Sadr

Moqtada al-Sadr the Antichrist

Moqtada Sadr has been a powerful figure in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Although the situation has changed in the country since the radical Shia cleric went into self-imposed exile in Iran in 2007, he appears to have has lost none of his influence and has maintained his wide support among many of Iraq’s impoverished Shia Muslims.

At times he has called for a national rebellion against foreign troops and sent out his Mehdi Army militiamen to confront the “invaders” and Iraqi security forces.

At others he has appeared more compromising, seeking for himself a political role within the new Iraq and helping form the national unity government in December 2010.

He returned to Iraq on 5 January 2011. Weeks before the withdrawal of US troops from the country, as negotiations were ongoing between Baghdad and Washington over a possible extension of their mission, he threatened to reactivate the Mehdi Army in case an extension is agreed.

Prayer leader

The youngest son of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq Sadr 
– who was assassinated in 1999, reportedly by Iraqi agents – Moqtada Sadr was virtually unknown outside Iraq before the March 2003 invasion.

But the collapse of Baathist rule revealed his power base – a network of Shia charitable institutions founded by his father.

Moqtada Sadr was virtually unknown outside Iraq before the invasion, but quickly gained a following
In the first weeks following the US-led invasion, Moqtada Sadr’s followers patrolled the streets of Baghdad’s Shia suburbs, distributing food, providing healthcare and taking on many of the functions of local government.

They also changed the name of the Saddam City area to Sadr City.

Moqtada Sadr 
also continued his father’s practice of holding Friday prayers to project his voice to a wider audience.

The practice undermined the traditional system of seniority in Iraqi Shia politics and contributed to the development of rivalries with two of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollahs, Kazim al-Hairi and Ali Sistani.
Moqtada Sadr drew attention to their links with Iran, whose influence on Iraq’s political and religious life his followers resented. Moqtada Sadr has become a symbol of resistance to foreign occupation
He also called on Shia spiritual leaders to play an active role in shaping Iraq’s political future, something most avoided.

Armed force

Moqtada Sadr also used his Friday sermons to express vocal opposition to the US-led occupation and the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC).

In June 2003, he established a militia group, the Mehdi Army, pledging to protect the Shia religious authorities in the holy city of Najaf.

He also set up a weekly newspaper, al-Hawzah, which the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) banned in March 2004 for inciting anti-US violence. The move caused fighting to break out between the Mehdi Army and US-led coalition forces in Najaf, Sadr City and Basra.

The following month, the US said an Iraqi judge had issued an arrest warrant for Moqtada Sadr in connection with the murder of the moderate Shia leader, Abdul Majid al-Khoei, in April 2003. Moqtada Sadr strongly denied any role.

The Mehdi Army was involved in fierce fighting with US forces in August 2004 in Najaf. Hostilities between the Mehdi Army and US forces resumed in August 2004 in Najaf and did not stop until Ayatollah Sistani brokered a ceasefire. The fighting left hundreds dead and wounded.

During the negotiations for a truce, the Americans also reportedly agreed to lay aside the warrant for Moqtada Sadr.

The fierce clashes continued in Sadr City, however, and only ended in October after the Mehdi Army had sustained heavy losses.

Political power

Though costly, the violence cemented Moqtada Sadr’s standing as a force to be reckoned with in Iraq. Supporters of Moqtada Sadr have performed strongly in all elections since the 2003 invasion

He became a symbol of resistance to foreign occupation – a counterpoint to established Shia groups such as the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri) and the Daawa Party.

Despite this, Moqtada Sadr chose to join his rivals’ coalition for the December 2005 elections – the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA).

The alliance had easily won Iraq’s first post-invasion election the previous January, and with the Sadr Bloc on board again came out on top.

In the months of government negotiations that followed, Moqtada Sadr used his influence to push for the appointment of Nouri Maliki, then Daawa’s deputy leader, as prime minister. In return, his supporters got powerful positions in the cabinet.

At the same time, extremist Sunni Islamist militant groups – increasingly supported by Iraq’s marginalised Sunni Arab minority – had begun to target the Shia community, not just foreign troops.
Insurgents attacked Shia Islam’s most important shrines and killed many Shia politicians, clerics, soldiers, police and civilians. In 2006 and 2007, thousands of people were killed as the sectarian conflict raged in Iraq.

As the sectarian violence worsened, the Mehdi Army was increasingly accused of carrying out reprisal attacks against Sunni Arabs.

In 2006 and 2007, thousands of people were killed as the sectarian conflict raged. The Iraqi security forces seemed unable to stop the violence, though many blamed this on the infiltration of the interior and defence ministries by the Mehdi Army and other Shia militias.

One Pentagon report described the Mehdi Army as the greatest threat to Iraq’s security – even more so than al-Qaeda in Iraq. Iran was accused of arming it with sophisticated bombs used in attacks on coalition forces.


Then in early 2007, after US President George W Bush ordered a troop “surge” in Iraq, it was reported that Moqtada Sadr had left for Iran and told his supporters

In August 2007, heavy fighting broke out between the Mehdi Army and Sciri’s Badr Brigade in Karbala, leaving many dead. In March 2008, the Iraqi government ordered a major offensive against the Mehdi Army in Basra

The internecine fighting was condemned by many Shia, and Moqtada Sadr was forced to declare a ceasefire.

In March 2008, Mr Maliki ordered a major offensive against the militia in the southern city.
At first, the Mehdi Army seemed to have fended off the government’s attempts to gain control of Basra. But within weeks, it had accepted a truce negotiated by Iran, and the Iraqi army consolidated its hold.

US and Iraqi forces also moved into Sadr City, sparking fierce clashes but also eventually emerging victorious.

In August 2008, Moqtada Sadr ordered a halt to armed operations. He declared that the Mehdi Army would be transformed into a cultural and social organisation, although it would retain a special unit of fighters who would continue armed resistance against occupying forces.


He meanwhile devoted his time to theological studies in the Iranian holy city of Qom, in the hope of eventually becoming an ayatollah.

Analysts say the title would grant him religious legitimacy and allow him to mount a more serious challenge to the conservative clerical establishment in Iraq.

At the same time, he built on the gains of the Sadr Bloc in the 2005 elections to increase his political influence. His supporters performed strongly in the 2009 local elections and made gains in the March 2010 parliamentary polls as the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), ending up with 40 seats.

The result made Moqtada Sadr the kingmaker in the new parliament. He toyed initially with backing Mr Maliki’s rival for the premiership, but in June agreed to a merger between the INA and the prime minister’s State of Law coalition.

Then in October, he was finally persuaded by Iran to drop his objection to Mr Maliki’s reappointment in return for eight posts in the cabinet.

Secure in his standing, Moqtada Sadr returned from Iran in January to scenes of jubilation.

Iran protests reach 100 days: Official warns situation ‘dangerous’

Thousands of Iranians head to Mahsa Amini's grave in Saqqez, October 26, 2022 (photo credit: 1500tasvir)

Iranian protests reach 100 days: Official warns situation ‘dangerous’

Iranian authorities continued to crack down heavily on protests, restricting internet access in some areas and issuing death sentences.


Published: DECEMBER 25, 2022 01:48

Updated: DECEMBER 25, 2022 08:38

Thousands of Iranians head to Mahsa Amini’s grave in Saqqez, October 26, 2022

(photo credit: 1500tasvir)

Protests continued across Iran for the 100th day on Saturday, as the Iranian government continued to escalate its crackdown on protests, issuing additional death sentences against protesters and restricting internet access.

Protesters gathered in Tehran, Mashhad, Karaj, Sanandaj, Ahvaz, Isfahan and Bandar Abbas, among other cities, chanting slogans such as “death to the dictator” and “we don’t want an Islamic Republic.”

The gatherings took place despite heavy snowfall and rain.

In Karaj, a crowd of protesters chanted “our judges are murderers, the whole system is corrupt” in videos shared by the 1500tasvir account. protest in Golshahr, Iran, December 24, 2022 (Credit: 1500tasvir)

The protests, sparked originally by the killing of Mahsa Amini by Tehran’s “morality police” in September, marked 100 days on Saturday, despite the pressure placed by regime forces on demonstrators.

Iranian authorities continued to crack down heavily on protests, restricting internet access in some areas and issuing death sentences.

The 1500tasvir account noted that not all of the death sentences issued are made public as information about many detainees isn’t being published by authorities.

Over 500 protesters have been killed since the nationwide demonstrations began 100 days ago, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran organization. Many protesters are sitting on death row in Iranian prisons as well.

Iranian official warns Iran protests will escalate further without dialogue

Mohammad Sadr, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council which advises Iran’s supreme leader, warned that while the protests have largely avoided economic slogans, the deteriorating economic situation in Iran could spark economic protests “which is very dangerous,” in an interview with the Iranian Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper on Saturday.

Sadr stressed that this was a reason for Iran to return to the JCPOA nuclear deal in order to lighten sanctions on the country and improve its economy.

The Iranian official added that “dialogue is the best solution” for the ongoing unrest.

“One hundred percent of the demands of the protesters are not impractical, and we can implement some of these demands over time in order to de-complex a little and move towards a peaceful country. If we don’t use this method, we will be forced to continue the previous security methods that even if these protests seem to be reduced or collected, will still remain in the heart of society, youth and political figures and will continue to resurface,” warned Sadr.

Analysts note that protests continue despite crackdown

The Critical Threats Project (CTP) of the American Enterprise Institute noted on Friday that while the rate of demonstrations has gone up and down, it has “not recorded a single day with no protests since September 16.”

The project stressed that reduced protest activity does not indicate the end of the anti-regime movement and the regime will “struggle to sustain this level of oppression indefinitely, especially given the degree to which this crackdown has strained the state security apparatus.”

Protest coordinators and organizations are contrastingly exploring ways to sustain regular acts of political defiance and have been forming the requisite networks and infrastructure for months,” wrote the CTP, noting that observed protests may become a less-useful indicator for the status of the anti-regime movement in the coming weeks and months.

Iran is Already Nuked Up: Daniel 8

Had Iran pursued atomic bombs, it could have built last year: advisor

TEHRAN- An advisor to the Iranian nuclear team has underlined that Iran “would have created” a nuclear bomb a year ago if it had desired. 

Speaking with the Russian TV network Russia Today (RT) on Saturday, Mohammad Marandi said that the West is bluffing that the Iranian nuclear program is a menace. 

“During the Vienna nuclear negotiations, Western regimes constantly claimed Iran’s nuclear program was reaching a point of no return. Months have passed since the talks and the West is silent. Why? They were lying,” Marandi pointed out. 

“If Iran wanted a nuclear weapon, it would have made it one year ago,” he added.

He remarked, “Iran has had that capability for many years now, but it decided not to do so.”

Iran has prohibited nuclear weapons production owing to ethical and religious considerations, based on a decree issued by the Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.  

Iranian officials, including Kamal Kharrazi, head of the Iranian Strategic Council of Foreign Relations, have insisted on this decree repeatedly.

Addressing the third Tehran Dialogue Forum (TDF) on Monday, Kharrazi also criticized the Westerners for not upholding their obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The former foreign minister also criticized the United States’ withdrawal from the legally-binding 2015 nuclear agreement.

Saeed Iravani, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, said last week that Iran was ready to resume talks in Vienna on the renewal of the 2015 nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions, but it was up to the U.S. to demonstrate real political will and be prepared to work toward a successful resolution.

How the Russian Horn could strike with nuclear force: Daniel 7

How Russia could strike with nuclear force and what might happen next

  • Since he launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin has made numerous nuclear threats.
  • Insider has learned that Russia’s use a nuclear weapon is directly tied to its fate on the battlefield.
  • A researcher stated that a Russian tactical nuke could devastate about a dozen tanks. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a lot of very unsettling nuclear threats since the start of Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and concerns are growing as his forces lose ground that he could resort to the unthinkable and order the use of weapons of mass destruction — a nightmare scenario.

Putin made a subtle reference to nuclear weapons and vowed to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” in September. He also stated that this was not a bluff. Putin has continued to make threats to Russia’s nuclear arsenal throughout the years.

The use of a tactical nuke would be a deliberate act — made “in cold blood,” an expert said — that requires a multi-step process that US spy agencies may detect; so far, US officials have said they’ve seen no signs of it.

Russia has the most tactical nukes in the world. While they may only be effective in destroying a few armored vehicles, they can still kill tens or thousands if used to attack a city. Unlike ICBMs, whose explosive power is often measured in megatons (or ICBMs), tactical nukes are not ready for immediate use. They are aging weapons with questionable reliability and must be removed from storage before being used.

Even so, even one tactical nuke could cause a chain reaction of escalation that could lead to a nuclear catastrophe. In October, President Joe Biden suggested that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon,” as the US has privately told Russia, is the highest since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. “catastrophic consequences” if nuclear weapons are used.

Putin hasn’t said “we’re going to launch nukes,” but he wants the dialogue between the US and Europe be, “The longer this war continues, the greater the risk of nuclear weapons being used,”” John Erath senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. told the Associated PressDecember

While Russia watchers suspect Putin of lying to stop Western support for Kyiv’s, many top nuclear experts agree that Putin’s threats should not be dismissed.

Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons and its tactical nuclear weapons

A Russian Iskander E missile launcher is on display at the International Military Technical Forum “Army 2022” on August 17, 2022 in Patriot Park outside Moscow, Russia.

Putin, who has made vague threats, has not stated whether or not he will use a nuclear weapon. However, experts in nuclear weapons and military warfare have indicated that Putin is more likely, if he does, to use a tactical nuke weapon in Ukraine than a strategically nuclear weapon, although the latter is still an option.

Tactical and non strategic nuclear weapons are designed for smaller strikes and use at a shorter range on the battlefield, while strategic weapons have higher explosive yields that can be used against targets farther away from the frontlines.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with 5,997 warheads. However, approximately 1,500 of these are still active, according to the Federation of American Scientists’ latest assessment.

Russia is estimated to have approximately 1,912 tactical nuclear weapons. It also has a fully operational nuclear trio, which gives it the ability to deliver nuclear nukes to their intended targets via land and air.

The explosive yield of a tactical weapon nuclear weapon ranges from 10 to 100 kilotons (a Kiloton is a unit that measures the explosive force of 1,000 tons TNT). Russia has low-yield nuclear weapons that are below one kiloton.

These weapons are still extremely powerful. The atomic bomb dropped by the US on Nagasaki in World War II had an explosive output of only 21 kilotons and still killed approximately 74,000 people. There are also tactical nuclear weapons that can be more powerful than four times. 

During a recent webinar hosted at his organization, Daryl Kimball, executive Director of the Arms Control Association (ACA), stated that tactical nuclear weapons are “devastating and indiscriminately killing machines”. A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental-ballistic-missile system drives during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2015.

Pavel Podvig is a senior researcher at UN Institute for Disarmament Research and does not believe that Russia is at this stage, despite Putin’s rhetoric. Russia could alienate its remaining allies and maintain its status as an international terrorist.

“There is a consensus among people that the battlefield use nuclear weapons is not possible,” Podvig stated to Insider from Geneva. “This isn’t that kind of war.”

The forces of Ukraine are dispersed so there is no chance to strike thousands of soldiers. Podvig stated that a tactical nuclear weapon could destroy a dozen tanks at most. It would be a logistical nightmare for a military which struggled to feed its troops at the beginning.

“You must coordinate. He said that you need to deal with all contamination. It’s not an easy task.

Even if the intent of such a strike were to simply demonstrate Russia’s resolve and willingness to escalate, Podvig does not think it would achieve that with a battlefield nuke — it could in fact be read as Moscow being hesitant. “It would have to shock,” Podvig said if the Kremlin was looking for an effective demonstration.

“It won’t be enough to just have an explosion over Black Sea somewhere in order to deliver the shock. You really would have to kill a lot of people — we are talking about tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people,” he said. “And that would be done in cold blood.”

Putin’s home could be undermined by the destruction caused by a nuclear bomb. This conflict was sold to his people on the basis of shared history with UkraineHe could cause a backlash if he were to supervise, using nuclear force, the destruction or mass killing of Ukrainians. He has described them as “one people” along with Russians. These sentiments have not prevented other wartime atrocities.

Putin can decide whether or not to use a nuclear weapon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with top officials during a meeting at the Kremlin Cabinet on January 29, 2020 in Moscow.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

In 2020, Russia released the “Basic Principles of State Policy of Russia on Nuclear Deterrence,” a document that outlines its nuclear doctrine. According to the document, the Russian president decides whether or not to use nuclear weapons.

According to the Congressional Research Service, “The Russian President is Supreme Commander in Chief of Russian Armed Forces and he has authority to direct nuclear weapons use.” 

In other words, Putin can decide if Russia uses a nuclear weapon, but it is not as easy as pressing a button to let one go.

It’s possible that Putin’s orders for a nuclear strike could be rescinded at any time. There is no way to know if anyone would be willing to stand up against Putin’s leader, whose opponents are known for ending up in prison or dying violently. 

The whole process begins with a decision made by Putin, Hans M. Kristensen (director of the Nuclear Information Project at Federation of American Scientists), explained during the ACA webinar. He said, “But of course, just like in the United States the military must cooperate.”

Kristensen stated that “I don’t think there’s a red button on him desk that he can press and then suddenly, the nuclear weapons begin flying.” He also said that it would likely “take longer” to use a tactical rather than a strategic nuclear weapon, given that these weapons aren’t immediately available.

Russia’s non-strategic nuclear nukes are “in Central Storage” and would need to be taken out of their bunker first, and then transported to the launch units to fire them. Kristensen said that it is “reasonable to suppose” that Western intelligence would detect if this is happening given the many steps involved. According to recent reports, US intelligence has not seen any indication that Putin is preparing for nuclear weapons.

Some of these nukes may not be reliable due to their age or storage time.

Pavel Baev (a military researcher who worked previously for the Soviet defense minister) stated that most of the warheads stored there were very old. told the GuardianOctober “It is difficult to determine how suitable they will be as many of them have past their expiration date.”

Putin’s nuclear calculation

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Contributor/Getty Images

The document was released by Russia in 2020. four scenariosThis could lead to the use nuclear weapons: The use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies or conventional aggression that threatens Russia’s existence, the use or attempted use of weapons of mass destruction or nuclear weapons, the use or attempted use of nukes, or the use or attempted use of them, as well as the use or attempted use of ballistic missiles heading for Russia or its allies. An attack on the government or military that compromises Russia’s nuclear response capability could also be possible.

Putin’s threats to Ukraine suggest that he may, although the risk remains low and ignore Russia’s nuclear doctrine, and use a weapon to mass destruction to send a serious message to Ukraine’s Western allies. 

Although there is still some debate about whether Putin would use a nuclear weapon, there is widespread agreement that the Ukraine war has increased the risk of a nuclear disaster to a level never seen in decades.

Kristensen stated during the ACA webinar that he believes that Russia is unlikely to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. He said that in order for this to happen, things must “escalate substantially” to a “direct clash with Russia”

“That being said, they’ve certainly rattled and threatened something that seems like a scenario beyond what Russia’s declaratory policies are,” he said. He also said that Russia could use a nuclear weapon to attack the Iskander short-range missile.

The risks of Putin using a nuclear weapon in short-term are “still very low,” Andrea Kendall Taylor, a former senior intelligence officer who conducted strategic analysis on Russia for National Intelligence Council (2015-2018), stated. told Insider in late September. But Kendall-Taylor also emphasized that Putin’s decision to annex four Ukrainian territories — declaring territories on the front lines of the war as part of Russia — “increased those risks.”

“I worry now that the Ukrainians will reclaim territory Russia has annexed and that this could lead to a deterioration in our security. [Putin]Russian claims, given the fact that he now is so invested in this, that there is a greater risk of him using a tactical nuke in Ukraine,” she stated. She also said that the fate of Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine is “directly connected to Russia’s fate on the battlefield.”

If Putin were to use a tactical nuke weapon in Ukraine, it would be likely to “in hopes that shocking Ukraine into surrendering or the West to cut off aid to Ukraine.” according to an assessment from the Institute for the Study of War. ISW stated that it was unlikely that such attacks would force Ukraine or West to surrender.

Response to the Unthinkable

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Geneva, Switzerland.

One of the most pressing issues surrounding Russia’s potential use of a nuke weapon is how the West, specifically NATO, would react. 

Ukraine is not considered a nuclear power. But multiple countries in NATO, a 30-member military alliance that has supported Ukraine in its fight against Russia, have nuclear arsenals of their own — including the US. 

Together, the US and Russia have roughly 90% of all world’s nuclear warheads. During the Cold War, both countries were at risk of nuclear war, sometimes by accident, but they managed to avoid a disaster.

Although the Biden administration has warned Russia that there could be severe consequences if they use nuclear weapons, it has not provided any details. Experts recommend that the United States not go nuclear as a response.

“I do not believe that the United States and its allies should put on the table a nuclear response. We must remain on the side for a firm military response but one that is conventional in nature,” Rose Gottemoeller (ex-deputy secretary general of NATO and State Department senior official for arms control, nonproliferation and nonproliferation) said during ACA’s webinar. Gottemoeller suggested that the response could target the origin of Russia’s nuke attack. However, the US could also consider employing offensive cyber capability first. 

Gottemoeller stated that “any such attack would have to be carefully designed to respond to what would constitute an egregious attack against a Ukrainian target using nuclear weapons,” adding that she wanted to “underline and really emphasize that none of these options are desirable to NATO and the United States of America.” 

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Iranian Horn closer than ever to a nuclear weapon: Daniel 8

Iran closer than ever to weapons-grade uranium, ex-top defense official says

Zohar Palti tells ToI Israel must make ‘serious decisions’ on whether it is willing to attack Iran’s nuclear plants without US backing, notes issue tangled up with other challenges

By Tal SchneiderToday, 7:55 pm

Former Mossad intelligence director Zohar Palti speaks with Times of Israel political correspondent Tal Schneider at an event in Ramat Hasharon, December 24, 2022. (Zman Israel)

A former top defense official and Mossad intelligence chief warned Saturday that Iran was closer than ever to being able to produce weapons-grade uranium, and that Israel was capable of striking Tehran’s nuclear program even if not backed by the United States to do so.

Zohar Palti, the former head of the Defense Ministry’s political-military bureau and former intelligence director in the Mossad, said Iran is mere days or weeks away from enriching uranium to military-grade levels required for the production of nuclear weapons.

Iran “is at a more advanced level than I can ever remember when it comes to uranium enrichment,” Palti told Times of Israel political correspondent Tal Schneider at an event in Ramat Hasharon.

“They are days or weeks away from enriching uranium to 90 percent, which is military-grade,” he said.

Iran’s state media announced last month that it had begun producing enriched uranium at 60% purity at the country’s underground Fordo nuclear plant, in addition to enrichment to the same level at a plant in Natanz that it said had begun in 2019.

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Enrichment to 60% purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Nonproliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb.

Palti noted that enrichment to such a level “does not mean they can immediately build a nuclear weapon.

“But it’s very bad, and we’ve never been closer to it,” he said.

The comments from Palti, who retired from a 40-year career in Israel’s security establishment several months ago, marked one of the first times he has publicly addressed the Iranian issue since stepping down.

Palti said Israel has the military capabilities to attack Iran’s nuclear plants, noting that it need not necessarily await an American green light, but would need to make “serious decisions” regarding whether it wants to lead such an offense.

“I am not implying that Israel is capable, I am saying it is,” he said, while stressing the importance of coordinating with Washington.

“One of the things that the Americans appreciate most is our ability to make our own decisions, to ensure our security,” he added, referencing Israeli strikes on nuclear facilities in Syria and Iraq that it had carried out alone without active American support.

Palti noted that the heated political atmosphere did not lend itself to the sort of societal cohesion needed for Israel to deal with a wartime scenario.

“If we do reach such a scenario… it won’t be a matter of politics or religion. Lebanon has more than 100,000 rockets and Iran possesses precision-guided missiles. The Israeli home front will suffer… Israel will need to function as one fist,” he said.

He added that policymakers did not have the luxury of dealing with the Iranian issue as disconnected from other regional security concerns.

“Iran is not a standalone issue,” Palti said. “Everything is connected. We can’t make progress on the Iranian issue without noticing what happens in our region, in the West Bank, on the issue of maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and protecting the rights of minorities.”

Palti warned against inflaming tensions atop the Temple Mount, saying that Israel’s relationship with Jordan is its greatest strategic asset.

“The national security of each of the countries is intertwined,” he argued. It is in the interest of the State of Israel “for Jordan to be strong and unshakable. We have a strong and serious security system. The next IDF chief of staff, Herzi Halevy, will explain to the cabinet ministers what is at stake and what the meaning of violating the status quo on the Temple Mount is.”

He estimated that “incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t want to change the status quo on the Temple Mount” as well.