The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

The Big One Awaits


Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of “The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,“ which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.

 There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.


The Iranian Horn Announces they are Nuking Up: Daniel 8

Iran announces start-up of uranium mine

07 February 2023

Work has begun at the Narigan Mining and Industrial Complex in Yazd province, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) has announced. AEOI describes it as the country’s largest uranium-molybdenum mine.

The ceremonial start of operations at Narigan (Image: AEOI)none

The mine was formally inaugurated by Mohamed Eslami, head of the AEOI, on 5 February, who said developing the capacity to supply Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle for electricity supply and “radiation use” is a “heavy and significant investment” needed to secure clean energy.

According to the Fars news agency, Eslami said the uranium from Narigan will be sent to Isfahan for “purification” and fabrication into nuclear fuel. He said the site is estimated to hold “650 tons of uranium metal” and “4,600 tons of molybdenum metal … in the category of definitive and probable reserves”.

No timescale for mining operations was given.

The ceremony took place on 5 February (Image: AEOI)

The most recent edition of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) joint report on uranium resources, production and demand – known as the Red Book – says Iran has 4,316 tU of reasonably assured uranium resources and 5,535 tU of inferred resources. A 50 tU per year plant to process uranium ore from the Saghand underground mine in Yazd began operations near Ardakan in 2017. A 21 tU per year uranium plant at Bandar Abbas operated from 2006, processing ore from the Gachin deposit in the province of Hormozgan, but closed down in 2016.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Pakistani Horn flexing ‘Nuclear Muscles’: Revelation 8

Pakistan flexing ‘Nuclear Muscles’

February 7, 2023

As the saying goes – A dog’s tail is crooked even if it were put in a cast for 40 years. The incorrigible is never cured of his bad habits. Despite Pakistan licking the ground after four wars it thrusted-upon India and more recently going almost bankrupt and facing hunger, it flexes its Nuclear muscles against India.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif threatened India boasting -” Pakistan has power to pull out the enemy’s evil eye and crush it under its feet.”

“Pakistan is a nuclear power, and India cannot look at us with an evil eye,” Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in an address in Pakistan occupied Kashmir on Sunday, as streamed by various news and social channels. We have the ability to take it out and crush it beneath our feet.” He also sung the Kashmir rhetoric again, emphasising the importance of achieving economic and political stability “in order to achieve freedom for the Kashmiris reiterating Pakistan’s continuous moral, diplomatic, and political support to the ‘Kashmir cause’ until it is liberated from Indian oppression.”

This is not the first time Pakistan has brandished its nuclear capabilities in front of India. Islamabad has repeatedly escalated cross-border intrusions and stated that the country’s nuclear assets meet international standards. The politicians, ruling and otherwise, all have been on record invariably brow-beating India by delivering nuclear threats.

Strangely, in an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV only in early January, the Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif stated that after three wars with India, Pakistan has learned its lesson and now seeks peace with its neighbour. His statement, ‘We have learned our lesson, and we want to live in peace with India as long as we can solve our genuine problems, was taken by many observers in India and abroad as a sense of realisation for discarding the long-held mindset in the Pakistan establishment.

Sharif also conveyed his message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Modi, wherein he wanted to sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve their burning points like Kashmir adding, ‘It is up to us to live peacefully and progress, or to argue and waste time and resources.”

Raking up the two postures taken by the Pak Prime Minister just within a month raises a question on his mental stability and clarity over the most important issue of having good relations with India.

Interestingly, while delivering the nuclear threat while addressing a rally in PoK, Sharief admitted his country’s enormous financial crisis, poverty and hunger.

Such dubious character of Pakistan’s political leadership and establishment has been responsible for loss of its face in the international community and before India particularly. Indian leadership has fully realised that Pakistan will never mend its ways and thus there is no need to entertain its pleas until Pakistan shun the politics of terrorism on its soil directed against India.

Babylon the Great returning to Philippines to counter China threat: Daniel 7

From right, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Akizuki-cl...

U.S. armed forces returning to Philippines to counter China threats

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (AP) — Once-secret ammunition bunkers and barracks lay abandoned, empty and overrun by weeds — vestiges of American firepower in what used to be the United States’ largest overseas naval base at Subic Bay in the northern Philippines.

But that may change in the near future.

The U.S. has been taking steps to rebuild its military might in the Philippines more than 30 years after the closure of its large bases in the country and reinforcing an arc of military alliances in Asia in a starkly different post-Cold War era when the perceived new regional threat is an increasingly belligerent China.

On Feb. 2, the longtime allies announced that rotating batches of American forces would be granted access to four more Philippine military camps aside from five other local bases, where U.S.-funded constructions have picked up pace to build barracks, warehouses and other buildings to accommodate a yet-unspecified but expectedly considerable number of visiting troops under a 2014 defense pact.

Manila-based political scientist Andrea Chloe Wong said the location of the Philippine camps would give the U.S. military the presence it would need to be a “strong deterrent against Chinese aggression” in the South China Sea, where China, the Philippines and four other governments have had increasingly tense territorial rifts — as well as a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory to be brought under Chinese control, by force if necessary.

Around the former U.S. Navy base in Subic, now a bustling commercial freeport and tourism destination northwest of Manila, news of the Philippine government’s decision to allow an expanded American military presence rekindled memories of an era when thousands of U.S. sailors pumped money, life and hope into the neighboring city of Olongapo.

“Olongapo was like Las Vegas then,” Filipino businessman AJ Saliba told The Associated Press in an interview in his foreign currency exchange and music shop along what used to be Olongapo’s garish red-light strip.

“Noisy as early as noon with neon lights turned on and the Americans roaming around. Women were everywhere. Jeepney drivers, tricycles, restaurants, bars, hotels — everybody was making money — so if they will return, my God, you know, that’ll be the best news,” he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during his visit in Manila last week that Washington was not trying to reestablish permanent bases, but that the agreement to broaden its military presence under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement was “a big deal.”

Visiting American military personnel could engage the Philippine military in larger joint combat-readiness trainings, provide help in responding rapidly to disasters and press efforts to help modernize Manila’s armed forces, Austin and his Philippine counterpart Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

“This is part of our effort to modernize our alliance, and these efforts are especially important as the People’s Republic of China continues to advance its illegitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea,” Austin said at a news conference in Manila.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the U.S. military’s strengthening in the region was escalating tensions and risking peace and stability.

“Regional countries need to remain vigilant and avoid being coerced or used by the U.S.,” Mao told reporters Feb. 2 at a briefing in Beijing.

Austin and Galvez did not reveal the four new locations where the Americans would be granted access and allowed to preposition weapons and other equipment. The Philippine defense chief said local officials, where the Americans would stay, had to be consulted.

In November, then-Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro disclosed that the sites included the strategic Subic Bay, where the Navy base was once a boon to the local economy. But two senior Philippine officials told the AP that Subic, where a Philippine navy camp is located, was not among the current list of sites where Washington has sought access for its forces, although they suggested that could change as talks were continuing. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Subic freeport administrator Rolen Paulino said he has not been notified by the government that the former American naval base has been designated as a potential site for visiting U.S. forces.

A renewed U.S. military presence at Subic, however, would generate more jobs and raise additional freeport revenues at a crucial time when many Filipinos and businesses are still struggling to recover from two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and an economic recession wrought by coronavirus outbreaks, Paulino said.

“I see them as tourists,” he said of the U.S. forces whose presence could boost economic recovery.

About the size of Singapore, the former American Navy base at Subic with its deep harbors, a ship repair yard and huge warehouses had been used to support the U.S. war effort in Vietnam in the 1960s and ′70s. It was shut down and transformed into a commercial freeport and recreational complex in 1992 after the Philippine Senate rejected an extension of U.S. lease.

A year earlier, the U.S. Air Force withdrew from Clark Air Base near Subic after nearby Mount Pinatubo roared back to life in the second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century and belched ash on the air base and outlying regions.

The American flag was lowered for the final time and the last batch of American sailors left Subic in November 1992, ending nearly a century of American military presence in the Philippines that began in 1898 when the U.S. seized the archipelago in a new colonial era after Spain held the Southeast Asian nation as a colony for more than three centuries. Washington granted independence on July 4, 1946, but maintained military bases and facilities, including Subic.

China’s seizure in the mid-1990s of Mischief Reef, a coral outcrop within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines that extends into the South China Sea, “provided the first hint that the allies may have been too quick to downgrade their relationship,” said Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Philippine Constitution prohibits permanent basing of foreign troops in the country and their involvement in local combat but allows temporary visits by foreign troops under security pacts such as the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and a 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement.

The 1998 agreement allowed a large number of American forces to be deployed in the southern Philippines to help provide combat training and intelligence to Filipino forces battling the then-al Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which was blamed for deadly bombings and mass kidnappings for ransom, including three Americans — one of whom was beheaded and another shot and killed in a Philippine army rescue. The third survived.

There is still, however, domestic opposition to a U.S. presence in the Philippines, which left-wing groups have criticized as neo-colonialism, reinforced by the 2014 killing of a Filipina transgender woman by a U.S. Marine, Wong said.

Governor Manuel Mamba of northern Cagayan province, where Bacarro said the U.S. has reportedly sought access for its forces in two local military encampments, vowed to oppose such an American military presence. Cagayan, located on the northern tip of the main Luzon island, lies across a narrow sea border from Taiwan, the Taiwan Strait and southern China.

“It’ll be very dangerous for us. If they stay here, whoever is their enemy will become our enemy,” Mamba told the AP by telephone, adding the Philippines could be targeted by nuclear weapons if the conflict over Taiwan boils over.

“You cannot really remove any presumption by anyone that the Philippines has a nuclear capability through the Americans, who will be here,” Mamba said.

Associated Press journalists Joeal Calupitan and Aaron Favila in Manila, Philippines, and David Rising in Bangkok contributed.

Who Is The Antichrist? (Revelation 13)

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.

How Russia Decides to Go Nuclear: Revelation 16

A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system in Moscow, May 2022
A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system in Moscow, May 2022Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

How Russia Decides to Go Nuclear

Deciphering the Way Moscow Handles Its Ultimate Weapon

By Kristin Ven Bruusgaard

February 6, 2023

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, there has been a near-constant debate about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear arsenal—and what he might do with it. The United States has repeatedly warned that a flustered Russia may actually be willing to use nuclear weapons, and the Kremlin itself has regularly raised the specter of a nuclear strike. According to top U.S. officials, senior Russian military leaders have discussed when and under what circumstances they might employ nuclear weapons. The concerns have even prompted states close to Russia, notably China, to warn Moscow against going nuclear.

The ultimate weapon has, of course, not been employed in this conflict, and one hopes that it never will be. The world may never know to what extent Russian leaders considered it a real option or whether it was Western signaling that persuaded Moscow not to make such a drastic choice. But as long as tensions remain high between Russia and NATO, the possibility of a nuclear war persists, and U.S. and European leaders must consider how to prevent the Kremlin from using its missiles. To do this, they must understand the protocols that govern Russia’s nuclear weapons.

Political leaders in all nuclear-armed states have to balance two competing imperatives: ensuring that their weapons can never be used without proper authorization and keeping the weapons in a state of constant readiness. They solve this dilemma in different ways, designing idiosyncratic command-and-control systems that affect nuclear decision-making. In the case of Russia, the process for commanding the use of nuclear weapons requires the sign-off of multiple officials, unlike the system in the United States, where the commander in chief has full latitude. That said, the Russian military has a disproportionate impact on nuclear policy; there are few outside analysts who can sway the Kremlin’s decisions on nuclear weapons. And although the system by which nuclear commands are issued is strictly centralized in Russia, the command and control of low-yield—or so-called tactical—nuclear weapons creates particular challenges for Western policymakers seeking to prevent Russian nuclear use.

These challenges make it more difficult for Western policymakers to know whether Moscow has ordered a nuclear launch or whether it is engaging in mere signaling, and to formulate policies that would mitigate an actual strike. But given Moscow’s protocols, the West should pay attention not only to Putin but also to Russia’s military leaders when thinking about Russia’s nuclear weapons. The West should also convey the significant risks and costs that increased nuclear signaling—and actual use—entails in order to deter Russia. Ultimately, the ambiguity of Russia’s doctrine and protocols means that nuclear use would create a deeply dangerous situation that neither side may be able to control.


In the United States, the president can order nuclear strikes without any oversight. That is not the case in Russia. The Russian constitution, the country’s defense laws, its military doctrine, and its formal principles on nuclear deterrence do say that only the president can order the use of nuclear weapons in combat and that only the president can order a nuclear weapons test. Yet all public accounts of Russia’s nuclear command-and-control system indicate that the president needs the consent of other key officials before the military can follow through on any nuclear command.

Like his U.S. counterpart, Putin has a so-called nuclear briefcase that aides keep with him at all times. But so do two other people: Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, and Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the military’s general staff. An order must pass from both Putin’s briefcase and the briefcase of one of the other two military officials before Russia can use nuclear weapons. Gerasimov’s sign-off is especially important, and perhaps even essential. Any nuclear order must be authenticated through a central nuclear command post of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, which is under the direction of Gerasimov’s general staff.

As with many aspects of Russia’s nuclear strategy, these checks and balances were inherited from the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders sought to ensure that no single person—an aging Communist Party leader, for example, or one suffering from dementia—could unleash nuclear Armageddon on a whim. At the same time, the system was designed to prevent the military from ordering strikes on its own. As a result, every public source today indicates that the Russian president has to be involved in a nuclear order.

Few people are more familiar with this protocol—and its evolution—than Putin. Russia’s president has been personally involved in nuclear planning for over 20 years, overseeing a major overhaul of Russia’s nuclear strategy in 1998, which increased the role of nuclear weapons in the country’s military preparedness. He then served as the chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the secretary of the Russian Security Council, positions in which he saw Russia’s nuclear policies up close. At events and press conferences, Putin has been able to rattle off facts and theories about Russian nuclear strategy even in moments that are apparently unscripted.

Few people are more familiar with Russian nuclear protocol than Putin.

Putin’s statements on nuclear doctrine reflect the positions of the Russian military, which is where the country’s current nuclear planners and policymakers all reside. There is no think tank, no Russian equivalent of the RAND Corporation, that can raise substantive challenges to Russian nuclear strategy, and so general staff and scientists dominate the country’s nuclear debates. Putin, of course, could have opinions of his own, and he could solicit input from members of his closest circle—such as Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Security Council. But the views of the armed forces will most closely inform Putin’s nuclear decisions.

If Putin were to seriously consider nuclear use, https://andrewtheprophet.comhe would consult with Gerasimov and Shoigu, both of whom are old-timers in his regime and still have his trust. In response, Gerasimov’s staffers (who oversee nuclear planning in Russia) would provide the three leaders with key aspects of current policy and ongoing debates about what political outcomes nuclear weapons use could produce and at what risk. The staff would then make a recommendation on whether Russia should carry out an attack or reserve this option for later. If they were to recommend nuclear use, or were ordered to place options on the table, they would likely provide detailed advice about what kind of attack to consider, what weapon to use, what type of target to hit, where in the world the strike should occur, and what the anticipated consequences would be.

So far, the Russian military’s nuclear strategists have been mostly preoccupied with how important these weapons would be in convincing a technologically advanced adversary—specifically NATO—to give up its objectives in a war with Russia. Not coincidentally, Russian doctrine calls for nuclear use in a conflict that could threaten Russia’s very existence. Russian leaders, including Putin, have specified that the invasion of https://andrewtheprophet.comUkraine is not the kind of war in which Russia would resort to nuclear weapons.

But at the same time, Russian military doctrine provides little guidance for the situation Russia currently faces in Ukraine because the same doctrine declares that Russian conventional forces should be able to win this kind of war. Instead, Russian forces are facing a better-equipped adversary than they anticipated, in large part because of significant Western arms transfers. This has produced a situation in which analysts wonder whether Russian losses (in Crimea, for example) would make Russian strategists reconsider the threshold for using nuclear weapons.


The Russian military’s underperformance in Ukraine raises questions about whether Russia’s nuclear arsenal would perform any better. Despite the battlefield setbacks, there is reason to believe it would. Russia’s strategic nuclear forces—which include the big, extraordinarily destructive, long-range weapons that menace even the United States—have for decades been the most prioritized part of the military, and experts generally consider them to be in better shape than any other part of the armed forces. But these weapons are the ones that are least likely to be used in Ukraine. Instead, their main purpose is deterring Western states from becoming directly involved on the ground in helping Kyiv. In this, they have been only partially successful. NATO has been deterred from meddling directly in the conflict, yet despite Russia’s nuclear threats, NATO countries are providing Ukraine with an ever-expanding portfolio of sophisticated armaments.

Instead, if Russia were to consider using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, it would more likely turn to its substrategic nuclear arsenal. These are nuclear weapons mounted on air-, sea-, or land-based platforms that generally travel shorter distances than the strategic arsenal. Their warheads can have a smaller impact, with a yield range that spreads from one to several hundred kilotons. (For reference, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of about 15 kilotons.) In other words, these weapons can deal limited to significant battlefield damage and potentially level an entire city center.

The president and one of his two top military officials would still have to order the use of a tactical warhead. But beyond that step, there is less available public information about this part of Russia’s nuclear protocol than there is about the procedures guiding the country’s larger weapons. And protocols surrounding low-yield weapons are more likely to have changed after the Cold War, when Russian doctrine increased the number of scenarios in which it would embrace nuclear use. For example, it is likely that the authorization of nuclear use is now detached from early warning systems that detect an incoming missile attack on Russia. The country, in other words, appears to be more comfortable with being the first one to use nuclear weapons in a conflict than it was in the past.

The military’s relative sanity may not hold.

Still, Russia maintains strict political control of its nuclear weapons, which is embodied by the civilian Ministry of Defense’s 12th Directorate, a unit that physically controls Russian nuclear warheads in centralized storage sites. If Russia were to deploy nuclear weapons, this directorate would likely install the warheads on the missiles capable of launching them. Many of the missiles that could potentially carry nuclear warheads have already been used in Ukraine, including ground-based, short-range Iskander missiles, sea-based Kalibr cruise missiles, and air-launched Kinzhal ballistic missiles.

Western policymakers are on the lookout for any practical evidence that Russia is moving to use such weapons—indeed, CIA Director William Burns said that watching such indicators remains one of his most important responsibilities. Still, observing nuclear activity would not necessarily prove that Russia had decided to employ a nuclear weapon. Russia conducted a nuclear deployment procedure test in 2013 as a way of signaling to the West that it was willing to up the nuclear ante. Yet such activity would at least indicate that a nuclear attack is possible. Western and Ukrainian leaders could then take steps to persuade Russian officials to reverse course. Such steps could include telling Russian military and political leaders of the risks they face for such a move. These steps could also include military signaling to back up any messaging. And they could include increasing the pressure on Moscow through unconventional coercive measures, such as cyberattacks.

The success of these efforts would, of course, depend on whether the Kremlin was receptive to being deterred. But it would also depend on whether Moscow could reliably return its weapons to centralized storage once they arrived on the field or whether it could reliably withdraw a launch order already issued to a field commander. Russia likely practices and trains for take-back procedures, as demonstrated by the 2013 exercise. Still, actually carrying out such an order would be unprecedented in Russia, as it would be in any other nuclear weapons state. For Western interlocutors, this uncertainty makes it harder to convey critical redlines about Russian nuclear use to the Kremlin’s leaders and to determine what could be done to stop the country from using nuclear weapons once they had left storage.


Western officials hope that they will never have to deal with a Russian nuclear attack. Putin still appears to believe that conventional weapons can deliver a victory (or at least a partial victory) in Ukraine. And although he has the most power over Russia’s nuclear arsenal, Putin would have to consult with his defense advisers, who could break with the president over any mooted strike. The military seems convinced that Russia should reserve nuclear weapons for a potential war with NATO: an event that Moscow desperately wants to avoid, but one that Russian nuclear use in Ukraine could provoke.

The military’s relative sanity, however, may not hold in the face of more significant Russian losses—such as a successful Ukrainian campaign for Crimea or major Ukrainian attacks on the Russian homeland with NATO-supplied weapons. Western countries have thus far trodden a fine line in supplying Ukraine with substantive capabilities yet refraining from providing battle systems that are certain to provoke a direct confrontation with Moscow. But as Ukraine advances and improves its capabilities, Western policymakers should continue to try to understand where Russia’s redlines are. Otherwise, it may well be that they discover Moscow’s thresholds only after they have been crossed.

The most perilous moment will be when Ukraine is on the cusp of victory, and Putin feels he can salvage his invasion only through an unprecedented escalation. But another perilous moment will come if Russian military or political leaders decide that a direct military confrontation with NATO is inevitable. It is this second contingency that Western policymakers should actively seek to mitigate, by using calibrated deterring communication and military maneuvers that cannot be misinterpreted as preparations for an operation against Russia.

A nuclear attack is unlikely to help Russia win its war of aggression in Ukraine. Moscow’s theory about first use—that it will force a terrified Ukraine and a shaken West to sue for peace instead of continuing to fight—is unlikely to be borne out. The Ukrainians appear committed to fighting at any cost, and more horror will only harden their resolve. Western policymakers will not let Putin get away with using nuclear weapons to succeed in conquest, an act that would set a terrible precedent. Instead, it will lead them to redouble their efforts to make Russia pay a price for its aggression.

But Russian nuclear use in Ukraine or beyond would cause horrible devastation. It would lead Western and Russian decision-makers alike into uncharted territory. It would produce extremely difficult choices for the United States about a range of issues, including the right level of political and military denunciation and punishment, for example. It will also challenge NATO to formulate a suitable response. In short, the situation would require calibrated statecraft from leaders everywhere to de-escalate from what would be the most dangerous moment in modern history.

Hamas condemns Israeli siege outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas condemns Israeli siege of Jericho, declares three days of rage

Hamas condemns Israeli siege of Jericho, declares three days of rage

The military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has declared three days of rage over Israeli regime’s tight siege on the occupied West Bank city of Jericho.

In a statement, the battalion said three days of rage started on Sunday in protest at the Israeli forces’ siege on Jericho, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

It also called on the Palestinian youths to battle the Israeli forces in the city.

According to local sources, the archaeological city of Jericho and its surroundings remain under a tight Israeli siege as the regime’s forces set up roadblocks and checkpoints nine days ago at the city’s entrances and search vehicles and check IDs of passengers, causing unsustainable delays and traffic jams.

Hamas on Saturday applauded the Palestinian youths who confronted the Israeli occupation forces during a raid in Jericho.

“We salute the resistance youths who responded heroically and valiantly to the Israeli raid and engaged in armed clashes with IOF soldiers,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.

“The resistance action that has spread across the West Bank cities, villages and camps reflect that the Palestinian people’s growing revolution will continue until they achieve their aspirations for freedom and independence,” he added. Meanwhile, an Israeli military bulldozer was seen on Sunday blocking a side road in Wadi al-Qelt area in the west of Jericho with mounds of dirt.

The Israeli occupation forces also arrested three Palestinian young men at the southern entrance of Jericho.

Palestinians say Israel is imposing collective punishment on the entire Jericho and gravely harming its economy, particularly during the high season when the city is a popular destination for tourism.

The Israeli forces began to besiege Jericho City after a resistance fighter opened fire at a nearby settler restaurant on January 28. After firing one bullet because of a malfunction in the weapon, the fighter fled the scene.

Israeli forces occasionally break into Jericho, mainly Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, and conduct searches. The last raid in Jericho on Saturday injured 13 Palestinians, including three seriously.