Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

   Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New Yorkcompared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered  in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.

In a First, South Korea Considers a Nuclear Policy: Daniel 7

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with his daughter, inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile in an undated photo released on Nov. 19. | KCNA / VIA REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with his daughter, inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile in an undated photo released on Nov. 19. | KCNA / VIA REUTERS

In a first, South Korea declares nuclear weapons a policy option

SEOUL – South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said for the first time Wednesday that if North Korea’s nuclear threat grows, South Korea would consider building nuclear weapons of its own or ask the United States to redeploy them on the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking during a joint policy briefing by his defense and foreign ministries Wednesday, Yoon was quick to add that building nuclear weapons was not yet an official policy. He stressed that South Korea would for now deal with North Korea’s nuclear threat by strengthening its alliance with the United States.

Such a policy includes finding ways to increase the reliability of Washington’s commitment to protect its ally with all of its defense capabilities, including nuclear weapons.

Yoon’s comments marked the first time since the United States withdrew all of its nuclear weapons from the South in 1991 that a South Korean president officially mentioned arming the country with nuclear weapons. Washington removed its nuclear weapons from South Korea as part of its global nuclear arms reduction efforts.

“It’s possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own,” said Yoon, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office. “If that’s the case, we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities.”

South Korea is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, which bans the country from seeking nuclear weapons. It also signed a joint declaration with North Korea in 1991 in which both Koreas agreed not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons.”

But North Korea has reneged on the agreement by conducting six nuclear tests since 2006. Years of negotiations have failed to remove a single nuclear warhead in the North.​ (American and South Korean officials say that North Korea could conduct another nuclear test, its seventh, at any moment.​)​​

As North Korea vowed to expand its nuclear arsenal and threatened to use it against the South in recent months, voices have grown in South Korea — among analysts and within Yoon’s conservative ruling People Power Party — calling for South Korea to reconsider a nuclear option.

Yoon’s comments this week were likely to fuel such discussions. ​Opinion surveys in recent years have shown that a majority of South Koreans supported the United States redeploying nuclear weapons to the South or the country’s building an arsenal of its own.

Policymakers in Seoul, South Korea, have disavowed the option​ for decades​, arguing that the so-called nuclear-umbrella protection ​from the United States ​would keep the country safe from North Korea​.

“President Yoon’s comment could turn out to be a watershed moment in the history of South Korea’s national security,” said Cheon Seong-whun, a former head of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded research think tank in Seoul.​ ​”It could shift its paradigm in how to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat.”

Calls for nuclear weapons have bubbled up in South Korea over the decades, but they have never ​gained traction beyond the occasional analysts and right-wing politicians.

Under its former military dictator Park Chung-hee​, South Korea embarked on a covert nuclear weapons program in the 1970s, when the United States began reducing its military presence in the South, making its people feel vulnerable to North Korean attacks. Washington forced him to abandon the program, promising to keep the ​ally under its nuclear umbrella.

Washington still keeps 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea as the symbol of the alliance. But in recent months, North Korea has continued testing missiles, some of which were designed to deliver nuclear warheads to the South. Many South Koreans have questioned whether the United States would stop North Korea from attacking their country, especially at the risk of leaving U.S. cities and military bases in the Asia-Pacific region more vulnerable to a nuclear attack. Washington’s repeated promise to protect its ally — with its own nuclear weapons, if necessary — has not dissipated such fear.

In its 2022 Nuclear Posture Review, a document that outlines Washington’s nuclear policy for the next five to 10 years, the Pentagon​ itself noted the “deterrence dilemmas” ​that the North posed to the United States. “A crisis or conflict on the Korean Peninsula could involve a number of nuclear-armed actors, raising the risk of broader conflict,” it said.

“If South Korea ​possesses ​nuclear weapons, the United States will not need to ask whether it should use its ​own ​nuclear weapons to defend its ally​,​ and the alliance will never be put to a test,” said Cheong Seong-chang,​ a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. “If South Korea owns nuclear weapons, the U.S. will actually become safer.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul on May 21. In a first, Yoon said on Thursday that if North Korea's nuclear threat grows, South Korea would consider building nuclear weapons of its own or ask the United States to redeploy them on the Korean Peninsula. | DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol welcomes U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul on May 21. In a first, Yoon said on Thursday that if North Korea’s nuclear threat grows, South Korea would consider building nuclear weapons of its own or ask the United States to redeploy them on the Korean Peninsula. | DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES

By declaring an intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons, South Korea​ could force North Korea to rethink its own nuclear weapons program and​ possibly prompt China​ to put pressure on North Korea to roll back its program, Cheong said. China has long feared a regional nuclear arms race in East Asia.

South Korea would need to quit the NPT to build its own arsenal. Analysts said that quitting the NPT would be too risky for the South​ because it could trigger international sanctions​. ​

Some lawmakers affiliated with Yoon’s party and analysts like Cheon want the United States to reintroduce U.S. nuclear weapons​ to the South and forge a nuclear-sharing agreement with Seoul, similar to the one in which NATO aircraft would be allowed to carry U.S. nuclear weapons in wartime.

The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment on Yoon’s statement. Washington’s official policy ​is to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, fearing that if Seoul were to build nuclear weapons, it could trigger a regional arms race and eliminate any hope of ridding North ​Korea ​of its nuclear weapons.

Yoon himself reiterated Thursday that his country remained committed to the NPT​, at least for now​.​ He said Wednesday — and his Defense Ministry reiterated Thursday — that the more “realistic means” of countering the North Korean threat would be through joint deterrence with the United States.

His government said the allies will ​introduce tabletop exercises from next month to test their combined capabilities to deal with a North Korean nuclear attack​ and to help reassure Washington’s commitment to its ally. Yoon also said his military will boost its ​own “massive punishment and retaliation” program, arming itself with more powerful missiles and other conventional weapons to threaten the North’s leadership.

Tensions have been on the rise in Korea in recent weeks as Yoon’s government responded to the North’s provocations with its own escalatory steps, like dispatching fighter jets in response to drones from the North.

“We must squash the North’s desire to provoke,” he said Wednesday.

Hamas mourns two Palestinians killed outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas mourns two Palestinians killed by IOF in Jenin raid

Jan 13, 2023

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas mourns two Palestinian civilians Habib Kmeil, 25, and Abd Al-Hadi Nazzal, 18, who were extrajudicially killed by Israeli occupation forces in a raid on Qabatya town in occupied Jenin.

Hamas holds the Israrli occupation accountable for its continued crimes and violations and reaffirms that they will not go unnoticed.

Hamas reiterates that resisting the occupation is a legitimate right for Palestinians in their quest for freedom as stipulated in UN Resolution 37/43, dated December 3, 1982, which reaffirms “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

Who Is The Antichrist? (Revelation 13:11)

Baghdad protests


Who is Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr? The Iraqi Shia cleric making a comeback in Baghdad

By Stefano Freyr CastiglioneMarch 11, 2016 09:51 GMT 

Images from last Friday’s demonstrations in Baghdad, where thousands of people gathered outside the so-called Green Zone, may have reminded some observers of the protests that took place in a number of Arab countries in 2011. But during the Arab Spring people were not guided by political leadership, whereas recent demonstrations in Iraq have been promoted and led by one man in particular; Iraqi Shia leader Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr was born in 1973 to a family of high-ranking Shia clerics. Both his father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and his father-in-law, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, were important religious authorities who enjoyed large support among their co-religionists, a key factor in why there were tensions between them and the Baathist regime.

The latter was arrested and executed in 1980, while the former was assassinated in 1999 at the hands of regime agents. Muqtada al-Sadr, a junior and unknown cleric at the time, inherited his father’s legacy and popular support (primarily among working class Shia families in the South and the now ubiquitous Sadr City in Baghdad).

While he opposed the Baathist regime, his rise to prominence came with his resistance to the Anglo-American occupation after 2003, founding a militia known as the Mahdi Army, which was involved in the post-invasion insurgency, and accused of sectarian violence. Being able to count on both large popular support and a powerful military force, he soon became one of Iraq’s leading political and religious figures.

Sadr’s stance with regards to Iraqi politics has been rather ambiguous, leading some to describe him as “a hybrid of anti-establishment positions while being part of the establishment himself.” His involvement in the country’s public life has seen him make moves and take positions which are sometimes in contrast with the Shia ruling majority’s orientations. He is a steadfast opponent of sectarian politics, although some members of his bloc, the Sadrist Movement, have held, and continue to hold, positions in governments based on quota-sharing.

Sadr’s uncompromising stances may lead to political stalemate in a country that still needs to recapture the remaining areas under Daesh control.

A common thread since 2003 has been the opposition to foreign interference in Iraq, regardless whether it comes from the West (US, UK) or the East (Iran). His disenchantment as to the possibility of pursuing an alternative to sectarian politics was one of the reasons that led him to suddenly announce his withdrawal from political life in 2014, as one of his movement’s officials stated.
Since then, things have evolved in Iraq. The rise of Islamic State (Isis) in which sectarian politics undoubtedly played a role has posed a serious threat to the stability of the country, exacerbated by the political tensions of Maliki’s government at the time. Despite enormous difficulties (the constant threat of extremism, the recent fall of oil prices), his successor Haidar al-Abadi has managed to keep the country afloat as the Hashd al-Shaabi (PMU) and the Security Forces have regained territory from Daesh.

Abadi has been able to ease tensions with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to take some anti-corruption measures, and to purge the army of inefficient officials. Some issues which have taken root in Iraq have not yet been entirely solved, such as poor public services, corruption, lack of transparency, and sectarianism.

These are the plagues that Sadr has vowed to fight against, on the base of a populist vision of national unity in which religiosity and patriotism are often conflated, as the slogan “Love for one’s country is part of the faith” suggests. The Shia leader supported Abadi’s pledge to carry out a government reshuffle, aimed at installing a technocratic cabinet, as well as to fight corruption, restore services, and implement public accountability.

People in Iraq are getting more and more frustrated at Abadi-led government’s inability to move forward in the reform process — which some elements in the ruling majority actually oppose, seeing it as a threat to their interests. As talks between political factions have not led to concrete results so far, Sadr has seen an opportunity to mobilise the Iraqi masses and push for more audacious measures.
After having a member of his own political bloc, Baha al-A’raji (PM deputy), arrested on corruption and embezzlement charges, he disavowed the corrupt officers in his movement and is currently going to investigate how they have caused corruption.

Sadr urges Iraqis to oppose U.S., but peacefully
Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Reuters

Given Sadr’s huge influence both as a political and military leader — his military wing known as the Peace Brigades has participated in the liberation of the Leine area west of Samarra — his moves could turn out to be a destabilising factor, which is not the first time Sadrist intervention has disrupted the political process.
Looking at the causes that may have led Sadr to such a steadfast return to public life, it has been suggested that he hopes to prevent other Shia groups from asserting their influence in the country, on both a political and a military level. After a government reshuffle was proposed, factions have been in disagreement over how this is to be done: while one side prefers the ministries to be chosen by political parties, another side, led by Sadr, asserts that parties should not interfere.
Sadr has also threatened the current government with a vote of no-confidence if no agreement is reached within 45 days. It is also worth noting that Sadr does not oppose Abadi, but he thinks he should take the chance to promote reforms before it’s too late.

How is Sadr’s comeback to be evaluated? This week, the third demonstration led by the Shia leaexpected to be held, which threatens to storm the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital. There are mixed feelings in the Iraqi street regarding Sadr’s role. Some support his push for change, frustrated at Abadi government’s poor performance in terms of reforms.

Others, however, are afraid that if a breach in security occurs during the protests, it will undermine the rule of law and set a precedent that Sadr is taking the law into his own hands. This is why some of the Green Zone residents have allegedly left the area lest the situation gets out of control.
Despite being characterised by some clearly populist motifs, Sadr’s pledge to fight against corruption and for the sake of the most vulnerable classes of Iraqi society can function as an incentive for the large-scale reforms proposed by Abadi. At the same time, though, Sadr’s uncompromising stances may lead to political stalemate in a country that still needs to recapture the remaining areas under Daesh control.

His call for a more transparent and efficient administration, then, can be beneficial as long as his long-term vision does not hinder the current government’s activity, given the delicate stage the country is going through.

Stefano Freyr Castiglione is an Arab media analyst at Integrity UK

Antichrist Warns the Iranian Horn

Sadrist Movement: Iran Fears Iraq’s Rapprochement with Gulf 

Thursday, 12 January, 2023 – 07:00

People walk in front of a building bearing flags of Arab nations on its facade, in the Al-Ashar district of Iraq’s southern city of Basra on January 5, 2023, ahead of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup football championship. (AFP)

Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat

The Iraqi government has continued to ignore Iran’s protests of Iraqi officials using the term “Arabian Gulf” as Basra hosts the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament. 

Iran has protested the name, summoning the Iraqi ambassador in Tehran to demand that it be changed to “Persian” Gulf. 

The term “Arabian Gulf” has been used by Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. 

Social media users in Iraq have continued to highlight Iran’s attempts to change the name of the tournament. They noted the cable of congratulations it sent to Iraq in wake of its national team’s victory against Saudi Arabia. 

It used the term “Persian” Gulf, in what many users viewed as Iranian meddling in internal sovereign affairs. They slammed Baghdad’s silence over Tehran’s protests. 

Observers and experts, however, said Iraq has so far ignored the complaints because it does not want to become embroiled in a diplomatic dispute with Iran, especially as Baghdad is playing a key role in achieving rapprochement between regional countries, most notably Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

While Baghdad has not officially commented on the “Arabian Gulf” dispute, the Sadrist movement, led by influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, rejected Tehran’s summoning of the Iraqi envoy. 

Leading member of the movement, Issam Hussein said on Wednesday that Tehran is not justified in summoning the envoy. 

Moreover, he noted that the move gives Iran’s supporters in Iraq the “green light” to criticize the naming of the tournament. 

He remarked that Iran is “greatly bothered” by the rapprochement between the Iraqi and Gulf people. 

It fears that this rapprochement could develop into an increase in tourism and later development in economic and investment, he added. 

It is therefore, seeking to hinder any progress in relations by objecting to the naming of the tournament, Hussein said. 

“Iran has problems with the countries of the Gulf and it does not want any rapprochement between them and Iraq. Rather, it wants Iraq to remain subordinate to its foreign policy,” he went on to say. 

“For 40 years, Iran has called itself the ‘Islamic Republic’ and now it objects to the term ‘Arabian’ instead of the ‘Persian’ Gulf, proving that it is a populist republic, not an Islamic one,” he said. 

Meanwhile, editor-in-chief of the Aalem al-Jadeed Iraqi news website, Montather Nasser told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran’s complaint is a “dangerous precedent” because it is objecting to official Iraqi discourse. 

“Countries are free to name their territories, regions, waters and landmarks as they wish. No country has the right to impose their names on others,” he explained. 

Furthermore, he noted that seven Arab countries overlook the Gulf and combined, they boast a coast stretching 3,490 kms, while Iran – the only Persian nation – only boasts 2,440 kms. 

The Results of the Russian Horn’s Nuclear Modernization: Daniel 7

Russian RS-28 Sarmat ICBM (Source: Sputnik)

The Results of Russia’s 2022 Nuclear Modernization

By: Maxim Starchak

January 11, 2023 05:10 PM Age: 22 hours

As its war against Ukraine drags on, Russia continues to press ahead with its nuclear modernization program. In 2022, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) were ordered to deploy 21 launchers armed with Yars and Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and an Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle for combat duty (Kremlin.ru, December 21, 2021). According to the results from 2022, one regiment of the SMF’s Bologovsky missile division was re-equipped with mobile-based Yars ICBMs, while a missile regiment of the Kozelsk division was equipped with two ground-variant missiles from this complex (Mil.ru, December 15, 2022). The Dombarovsky division, meanwhile, received one missile with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle for re-equipping its second regiment (Mil.ru, December 17. 2022). These accomplishments aside, the Sarmat missile, which was supposed to become the pride of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, has yet to be sent to the Russian Defense Ministry.

In a statement last summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the Sarmat ICBM would be on combat duty by the end of 2022 (Interfax-AVN, June 21, 2022). Yet, this did not happen. For several years, Russia has been unable to test its newest RS-28 Sarmat ICBM, though the phase-one tests launches were originally scheduled for the beginning of 2019 (RIA Novosti, December 17, 2018). Overall, the military intended to conduct at least five or six test launches before beginning operational production (TASS, November 9, 2022). As such, a number of launch tests were scheduled to be held throughout 2022. However, in April 2022, only one such flight test of the Sarmat was conducted. The second test, scheduled for June 2022 (Kamchatinfo.com, June 2), as well as another attempt in July (TASS, July 12, 2022), were not conducted due to technical problems. In addition, the test range for flight trials, near the village of Severo-Yeniseysky in the Krasnoyarsk region, is still not ready, though the first phase of construction was planned to be completed by the end of 2022. Nevertheless, despite these myriad problems, operational production of the missile has already begun (Rg.ru, November 23, 2022).

Indeed, despite management problems, the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO) managed to execute and deliver two Tu-160M aircraft to the Russian Ministry of Defense in December 2022—one upgraded and the other brand new (Uacrussia.ru, December 30). However, the first delivery of the new Tu-160 was originally expected in 2021. The incomplete modernization (only about 40 percent of equipment was modernized) of the dedicated Kazan plant has been hindering aviation production for the past few years. Apparently, the facility has still not produced a number of critical components, which, as a result, were going to be taken from other aircraft to complete the necessary test flights of the upgraded Tu-160s (Business-gazeta.ru, November 23, 2021).

KAPO’s inefficiency has resulted in numerous lawsuits. For example, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade filed a lawsuit for 5.8 billion rubles ($84.5 million) against Tupolev (subsidiary of KAPO) as a penalty under the contract for the creation of a deeply modernized Tu-160M strategic bomber (Interfax, January 22, 2022).

Additionally, KAPO is engaged in the production of the Tu-214 passenger liner. Under the current conditions of Western sanctions, the long-term use of stolen Boeing and Airbus aircraft is impossible, and Russia has begun attempts to restore production of its own aircraft based on Soviet developments. As such, KAPO is tasked with organizing the production of 10 aircraft per year (Rostec.ru, April 21, 2022). The plant, which struggles to cope with the production demands for military aircraft, will also be forced to engage in operational civilian production, which will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the execution of contracts for the production of more strategic bombers.

According to the initial plans, Tupolev, which is currently developing the Prospective Aviation Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAK-DA, code-named Poslannik), a next-generation stealth strategic bomber, was supposed to roll out the first prototype in 2021–2022 (Avisa.aero, July 12, 2018). However, since this Tupolev aircraft is being produced at the same Kazan plant as the Tu-160, problems in the construction of the “Blackjacks” are being reproduced with the development of Poslannik. In 2022, the only things Tupolev managed to accomplish in this regard were to patent the air-intake valve, start testing the ejection seat and conduct bench tests of the engine for the PAK-DA. Given the delays, the rollout of the aircraft is now planned for 2025–2026.

Outside of these significant production issues, in 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense, as planned, received one Borei-class nuclear submarine, Generalissimo Suvorov, armed with Bulava ballistic missiles. While this production schedule was initially estimated by a source in the defense industry as hasty (TASS, December 28, 2021), it is far more important for the Kremlin to formally demonstrate continuity in the modernization of its strategic weapons; quality is not as critical. In this light, Russian officials believe that the production of nuclear weapons is stable enough to shorten their testing period.

In July 2022, after several delays, the Pacific Fleet received a Belgorod nuclear submarine, which is designed to carry the Poseidon (or Status-6) autonomous nuclear-tipped super-torpedo (Interfax, July 8, 2022). In October 2022, the Belgorod submarine had supposedly entered Arctic waters and was preparing to test the Poseidon torpedo without a nuclear warhead (Repubblica.it, October 1, 2022). However, no launch occurred. A second carrier of the Poseidon—a Khabarovsk submarine—also did not complete a test launch, though it has been planned to do so every year since 2020. Now, the test is planned for 2023 (RTVI, October 3, 2022).

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, over the past year, the share of advanced weapons in Russia’s nuclear triad increased from 89.1 to 91.3 percent (Mil.ru, December 21, 2022). This is due not only to the introduction of new weapons in the Russian Armed Forces but also the withdrawal and decommissioning of older systems. For example, in 2022, the Yekaterinburg Delta-IV-class submarine was withdrawn from the navy, and the withdrawal of the Topol missile complex from the SMF is in the process of being completed.

Despite the ongoing renewal of Russia’s nuclear triad, the development of the latest strategic nuclear weapons faces severe limitations. In truth, despite the difficulties with the creation of the Sarmat missile, Moscow is rushing the defense industry and insisting on the production of weapons with a reduced testing period. Overall, the industry could not cope with the plans for 2022 to create the latest weapons. And given the additional sanctions restrictions, the nuclear modernization plans for 2023 will most likely not be fully implemented either. At best, the execution of orders will be accompanied by a decrease in the efficiency and quality of the production process and the weapons themselves. As such, the Kremlin’s attempts at “nuclear blackmail” in 2023 may have a more reserved tone (see EDM, November 21, 2022).

US General: Russian Horn May Use Nukes: Revelation 16

Retired US General: Russia Will Use Nukes If Ukraine Continues ‘Success’

(Newsmax/”Saturday Agenda”)

By Nick Koutsobinas    |   Wednesday, 11 January 2023 10:19 PM EST

Russian President Vladimir Putin will use nuclear weapons if Ukraine continues its “success” on the battlefield, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan told Insider on Tuesday, the same day Russia deployed a nuclear-capable mortar weapon to the battlefield

Russia “would use a nuclear weapon before it allowed its military to be defeated in the field,” Ryan said.

“If the Ukrainian military was having great success in the spring, and was chopping up the Russian military and was threatening taking back Crimea, then I think that the Russian military and leadership would use a nuclear weapon” to not only “destroy Ukrainian military targets,” but to “convince Ukraine that continuing to fight this war would leave Ukraine as a nuclear holocaust,” added Ryan, the former defense attaché to Russia from 2001 to 2003.

Ryan added that while Russia’s “choices are broad” for where to deploy nukes, “the level of deaths could approach Hiroshima, or it could be far less if they only intend to fire like a warning shot of a nuclear weapon” in a less populated spot.

Russia deployed a weapon nicknamed “the Sledgehammer,” a 2S4 Tulip that is capable of firing mortar rounds — likely those considered “micro-nukes,” which can destroy an area the size of a football stadium.

“This is a huge weapon, devastating when using conventional weapons and capable of smashing a large area,” an unnamed security source told the British publication Mirror. “But they will also be a very large target for Ukraine’s drone and artillery teams, who are hunting down Russia’s offensive equipment daily.”

Speculating on an end, the retired general added, “This war goes isn’t going to be determined at the negotiating table for a while and won’t be determined in the air by missiles and bombs. But it will be determined by the fighting on the ground.”

Also on Tuesday, media outlets reported that U.S. officials said Russia has lost three-quarters of its conventional firepower and suggested Putin is becoming more desperate.

Regarding the deployment of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, retired Col. Doug Macgregor, former senior adviser to the secretary of defense, told The Grayzone in March that the deployment of nuclear weapons could lead to unpredictable consequences.

“Remember,” Macgregor said, “nuclear weapons only have value in the modern world in terms of their potential to protect your territorial integrity. That’s it. The use of a nuclear weapon in any other situation is so destructive that no one sees any military utility to it, and no one wants to use it because it would have horrific consequences on the ground for anybody who’s near it. And keep in mind that if we were to use a nuclear weapon or the Russians were, you would end up with the prevailing winds blowing the fallout across Central Asia into Northeast China, Korea, and Japan. The whole idea is insane.”