Wait, we can get the Sixth Seal? Revelation 6:12

Wait, we can get earthquakes in Western New York?


by: Christine GregoryPosted: May 28, 2021 / 12:40 PM EDT / Updated: May 28, 2021 / 02:34 PM EDT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The short answer to that is, yes! And Thursday evening was a prime example of that.

At approximately 8:41 P.M., residents from Livingston County reported feeling the light tremor. It occurred about 30 miles southeast of Batavia and rated a 2.4 in magnitude on the Richter scale. USGS confirms earthquake reported in Livingston County

We typically don’t think of New York state for having earthquakes, but they certainly are capable of having them. 

Upon my own investigation, there does appear to be an existing fault line right nearby where the quake happened that may have contributed to the light tremor, but it is not confirmed by official sources.

The Clarendon-Linden fault line consists of a major series of faults that runs from Lake Ontario to Allegany county, that are said to be responsible for much of the seismic activity that occurs in the region. It is a north-south oriented fault system that displays both strike-slip and dip-slip motion. 

Strike-Slip Fault

Dip-Slip Fault

Clarendon-Linden Fault System

Image courtesy: glyfac.buffalo.edu

This fault is actively known for minor quakes, but is said to not be a large threat to the area. According to Genesee county, researchers have identified many potential fault lines both to the east, and to the west of the Clarendon-Linden Fault.

According to the University at Buffalo, they have proof that upstate New York is criss-crossed by fault lines. Through remote sensing by satellite and planes, a research group found that “there are hundreds of faults throughout the Appalachian Plateau, some of which may have been seismically active — albeit sporadically — since Precambrian times, about 1 billion years ago.”

The state of New York averages about a handful of minor earthquakes every year. In Western New York in December of 2019, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Sodus Point over Lake Ontario, and in March of 2016, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Attica in Genesee county. 

For an interactive map of recent earthquakes from the USGS click HERE.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hamas Warns ‘Israel’ Against Storming Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas Warns ‘Israel’ Against Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque, Provoking Muslims During Ramadan

Hamas Warns ‘Israel’ Against Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque, Provoking Muslims During Ramadan

Story Code : 1049506

Islam Times – The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement warned the ‘Israeli’ occupation authorities against restrictions on the entry of Palestinians to holy al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the holy month of Ramadan and their forcible removal from the sacred site.

“We warn the occupying regime about the repercussions of attacks on pilgrims and worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque,” senior Hamas official Ismail Ridwan said in a statement.

He added, “The resistance front is closely following up the situation of [Muslim] worshipers at the Al-Aqsa compound – Islam’s third-holiest site. We will defend them and our holy sites.”

On Saturday night, a large number of ‘Israeli’ police forces stormed the al-Qibli prayer building at al-Aqsa Mosque and forcibly expelled Muslim worshipers from it.

Video from the scene showed Muslim men and women praying, chanting “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is the greatest,” and shouting at police officers as the officers removed worshipers from the building and the complex.

Palestinians were blocked from entering the gates of the mosque, according to Palestinian reports. Footage from some of the gates showed Palestinians scuffling with ‘Israeli’ occupation forces who blocked the gates. A number of Palestinians were arrested at the scene.

Moreover, Hamas spokesman in occupied al-Quds, Mohammad Hamadeh, condemned the Zionist settlers’ provocative moves against Palestinian worshipers, and their continual incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds under the protection of the regime’s forces.

Hamadeh denounced the agreement between Jewish extremists and ‘Israeli’ police to extend the hours of storming al-Aqsa Mosque, stating that “Such vexatious plans developed by the occupying regime are meant to Judaize al-Aqsa Mosque and assert control over it. These attempts can never undermine its historical uniqueness or change its Islamic identity.”

He called upon Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank and the 1948 ‘Israeli’-occupied territories to stay put at the mosque and recite prayers so as to revive Muslim principles and values and stand up against Zionists’ attempts to distort history.

Hardline ‘Israeli’ MKs and settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the ‘Israeli’ police in al-Quds.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, yet non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited according to an agreement signed between the Tel Aviv regime and the Jordanian government in the wake of the ‘Israeli’ occupation of East al-Quds in 1967.

Great Unrest is Coming to Babylon the Great

How Trump’s Indictment Could Affect The 2024 Election

By Nathaniel Rakich

MAR. 31, 2023, AT 9:54 AM

On Thursday, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump, making him the first president in U.S. history to be indicted. As of now, though, we still have many questions — including how this bombshell will affect his campaign to regain the presidency in 2024.

Since we have no precedent to guide us, the honest answer is that we don’t know how this will affect Trump politically. Any of these three things could happen: This news could hurt Trump; it could help him; or it could not impact the race at all. Here’s a look at the arguments for all three.

Scenario 1: It will hurt Trump

Breaking news: Scandals are bad for political candidates. According to our research, scandal-plagued incumbents performed an average of 9 percentage points worse than expected in general elections1 between 1998 and 2016. And we have more recent evidence, too: Herschel Walker, the anti-abortion Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2022, slipped a few points in the polls after it was revealed that he had paid for his pregnant then-girlfriend to get an abortion in 2009.2 And when the election results came in, Walker (also besieged by other scandals) underperformed the rest of the Republican ticket in Georgia by between 3 and 6 points. So even in this age of intense partisanship, scandals still appear to hurt a candidate’s chances of winning.

Polls also support the hypothesis that an indictment would hurt Trump’s chances of becoming president again. But I want to preemptively warn you: Over the next few weeks, you might see some polls asking Americans if the indictment makes them more or less likely to vote for Trump. You should not put a lot of stock in these polls. Most people who say the indictment makes them less likely to vote for Trump were probably never planning to vote for Trump in the first place.

Instead, pay more attention to polls like this one from Quinnipiac University that was conducted before news of Trump’s indictment broke (but after Trump teased that it might happen on social media). Quinnipiac found that 53 percent of registered voters considered the accusations about Trump paying hush money to Stormy Daniels to conceal an affair3 to be either “very serious” or “somewhat serious.” And 56 percent believed that if criminal charges were filed against Trump, they should disqualify him from running for president again. While the indictment does not legally disqualify Trump from serving as president, it sure seems like many voters will hold it against him.

Of course, these are only explanations for how the indictment would hurt Trump in the general election. And it is probably more likely to hurt him in the general than it is to hurt him in the primary — but it could still hurt him in the primary too. While Trump remains very popular among Republican voters (according to Civiqs, 75 percent view him favorably), he is not the only politician they like. Civiqs also found that 84 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of Trump’s potential 2024 opponents. And according to Morning Consult, 46 percent of Trump supporters say DeSantis is their second choice for president. Simply put, many of Trump’s supporters in the primary are still open to voting for another candidate. 

Even if this indictment alone isn’t enough to put Republicans off Trump, it could still hurt him in combination with the other three investigations he is currently a target of. If Trump is also indicted in one or more of those cases, it’s harder to see them shrugging this indictment off as a Democrat-led “witch hunt.” Republicans don’t even have to stop liking Trump or believing that he’s innocent; they just need to come to the conclusion that he has too much baggage to be their standard bearer in 2024. Multiple indictments could also be a logistical hurdle for Trump’s campaign; as my colleague Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux wrote the other day, “It could be hard to jet around to rallies when you have to appear in court in multiple states!”

Scenario 2: It will help Trump

Could being charged with a crime help Trump’s campaign? It’s hard to come up with an argument that it could buoy him in a general election, but it’s a distinct possibility in the primary. Trump could experience a polling boost similar to a rally-around-the-flag effect that presidents sometimes experience when the nation comes under threat — except this time, Trump himself is under threat.

Most Republicans believe Trump is being unfairly persecuted. According to an Ipsos/Reuters poll, 75 percent of Republicans agree with the statement, “Some members of the Democratic Party and law enforcement are working to delegitimize former President Donald Trump through politically motivated investigations.” And when an outside force threatens something they identify with, people tend to rally to that thing’s defense.

Another reason why politicians often experience rally-around-the-flag effects in times of crisis: their political opponents go quiet and stop criticizing them. That looks like it’s already happening with Trump. Rather than attacking him for being an accused criminal, Trump’s Republican opponents (both declared and potential) are coming to his defense. “Arresting a presidential candidate on a manufactured basis should not happen in America,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the indictment “is more about revenge than it is about justice.” Sen. Tim Scott called it a “travesty.” Former Vice President Mike Pence called it an “outrage.” DeSantis called it “un-American.” 

Trump is already leading most polls for the 2024 Republican nomination. If he is given a platform to woo undecided voters while the other candidates feel unable to make a case for an alternative, that imbalance may result in Trump making gains over his rivals.

Scenario 3: It won’t matter

Finally, there’s a good argument that the indictment will neither help nor hurt Trump. Even if they don’t actively rally to his defense, very few Republicans think the allegations are that serious. According to a Marist College/NPR/PBS NewsHour poll conducted March 20-23, 45 percent of Republicans think Trump has done nothing wrong, and another 43 percent think he did something unethical but not illegal. And according to Quinnipiac, 93 percent of Republicans thought the Manhattan district attorney’s case was mainly motivated by politics, while only 5 percent thought it was mainly motivated by the law.

In addition, Trump’s alleged wrongdoing is also already baked into public opinion about him. We first learned that Trump paid off Daniels to stay silent about their alleged affair back in 2018. Over the years, Trump has also combatted allegations that he conspired with Russia to sabotage Democrats in the 2016 election, sexually harassed or assaulted at least 18 women, committed tax fraud, coerced the president of Ukraine into giving him dirt on political opponents, pressured the Georgia secretary of state to overturn the 2020 election, incited the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and mishandled classified documents. In fact, even before the indictment, a YouGov poll found that 65 percent of Americans thought that Trump had “definitely” or “probably” committed a crime.

Indeed, throughout his presidency, public opinion of Trump proved remarkably difficult to budge. Perhaps the closest parallel to Trump’s indictment this week was his impeachment over the Ukraine scandal in 2019 (an impeachment is often compared to an indictment). From Sept. 24, 2019 (when the impeachment inquiry was announced), to Feb. 5, 2020 (when he was acquitted by the Senate), his average approval rating never left the 40-44 percent range. And support for removing him from office was as flat as a pancake, both among Republicans and the general public:

Another potentially instructive comparison is last August, when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home, concerning his possession of classified documents. It was an explosive news story that suggested Trump was in serious legal hot water — and it barely registered in polls of his favorable and unfavorable ratings:

Finally, here’s the most convincing argument for “LOL, nothing matters”: Even if the indictment does affect Trump’s polling numbers in the next month or so, there’ll still be eight more months until the 2024 primaries and 18 until the 2024 general election. That’s a lot of time for people to change their minds and those numbers to revert to the mean. And other issues, like a potential recession, may have eclipsed Trump’s legal troubles by the time any voting occurs; for the general election, there’s plenty of time for people to return to their partisan corners. 

Just look at what happened in the 2016 presidential election after the Access Hollywood tape was released on Oct. 7. According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average at the time, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened up a 7-point lead in national polls by Oct. 17. But by Nov. 2, the gap had narrowed again to just 3 points, aided by yet another October surprise, this one in Trump’s favor.

Of the three potential futures considered in this article, the “no difference” hypothesis probably has the most historical precedent as far as Trump is concerned. But again, Trump has never faced a situation as grave as an indictment, so no outcome should surprise us. So as we like to say here at FiveThirtyEight, we’ll have to wait and see.

The Asian Nuclear Horns: Daniel 7

Asia’s Nuclear Future
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says is a ballistic missile in North Pyongan Province, North Korea, on March 19, 2023. North Korea says its ballistic missile launch simulated a nuclear attack against South Korea. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified.Credit: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

Asia’s Nuclear Future

Even in today’s unsettled environment, the prospects for additional states to develop nuclear weapons are low. But if there is a next nuclear power, it’ll be found in Asia.

By Cheryl Rofer

April 01, 2023

It may not happen for some time, or at all, but the next nation that joins the nuclear club will be in Asia.

South America and the Caribbean are nuclear-free under the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Likewise, African countries have foresworn nuclear weapons under the Treaty of Pelindaba. The Treaty of Rarotonga covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands, and the Antarctic is covered by a treaty too. Europe is united by Russia’s imperial war against Ukraine and sits under the protection of NATO’s nuclear umbrella. 

More broadly, most nations around the world have promised, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. Most of those outside the NPT are in Asia. Three of the Asian states outside the NPT are already nuclear powers: India and Pakistan, and North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT in 2003.

Several states in Asia have motives to proliferate, inspired by complex regional conflict dynamics and domestic ambitions alike. North Korea tests missiles. China builds up its nuclear arsenal and patrols the South China Sea aggressively. India, Pakistan, and China contest borders. Iran ratchets up its uranium enrichment. The mix of nuclear and non-nuclear nations and the complexity of the conflicts in Asia can make nuclear weapons look attractive. 

On the other hand, Asia has nuclear weapon free zones too. The Treaty of Bangkok covers Southeast Asia, and Central Asia has its own treaty against nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons were developed with 1940s computational and engineering capabilities. Any industrial nation is capable of building them, but an industrial-scale operation is necessary. A nuclear weapons program is expensive and requires significant development and redirection of resources. Not only must the weapons themselves be developed, but delivery systems need to be created too.

A state that wants to develop nuclear weapons would have to withdraw from the NPT, a move that would trigger considerable consequences. Alliances with other states would weaken or be broken, with, for example, sanctions or travel bans imposed. Tensions with adversary states would increase. And ultimately, nuclear weapons cannot prevent conventional conflict, as seen in the Sino-Soviet border war of 1969 and the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan.  

The world’s largest nuclear powers – the United States, Russia, and China – have an outsized influence on proliferation potential in Asia. Their activities may lead other nations to consider developing their own nuclear weapons. 

Cheryl Rofer

Cheryl Rofer is an independent scholar. She worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1965 to 2001 on a variety of projects having both scientific and policy aspects. She managed environmental cleanups and a program to develop a disposal method for hazardous waste, and worked with Estonia and Kazakhstan to clean up environmental problems left by the Soviet Union. Her publications include technical papers on chemistry, a book, magazine articles on nuclear policy and history.

Who is the Antichrist Iraq’s most influential religious-political figure?

Who is Muqtada al-Sadr, powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil?

Who is Muqtada al-Sadr, powerful Shia cleric whose supporters have thrown Iraq into turmoil?

Muqtada al-Sadr is a mercurial figure who has emerged as a powerful force in Iraq’s cutthroat political scene with a nationalist, anti-Iran agenda. He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, who Saddam Hussein had assassinated in 1999

FP Explainers August 01, 2022 19:31:08 IST

Followers of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr hold posters with his photo during a sit-in, inside the parliament in Baghdad. AP

Iraq is in turmoil with hundreds of followers of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday camping inside the Iraqi parliament after toppling security walls around the building and storming in the previous day.

The followers of Muqtada al-Sadr have vowed to hold an open-ended sit-in to derail efforts by their rivals from Iran-backed political groups to form the country’s next government.

Their demands are lofty: early elections, constitutional amendments and the ouster of al-Sadr’s opponents.

The developments have catapulted Iraq’s politics to center stage, plunging the country deeper into a political crisis as a power struggle unfolds between the two major Shia groups.

But who the man who has mobilised hundreds and thrown the country in turmoil? Let’s take a closer look:

Life and career

Muqtada al-Sadr is a mercurial figure who has emerged as a powerful force in Iraq’s cutthroat political scene with a nationalist, anti-Iran agenda.

Born in 1974 in Kufa near the holy Shia city of Najaf, al-Sadr is described by some who are close to him as easily angered.

The round-faced Islamic leader comes from an influential clerical family and is the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad-Sadiq al-Sadr, who Saddam Hussein had assassinated in 1999.

As per Britannica, al-Sadr was greatly influenced by his father’s conservative thoughts and ideas and by those of his father-in-law, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, founder of the Islamic Daʿwah Party, who in 1980 was executed for his opposition to Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

As per Indian Express, al-Sadr founded the Al-Sadrist movement, which is it at its apex at the moment and draws the support of the poor of the Shia community across Iraq.

As per Reuters, members of the Al-Sadrist Movement have been appointed to senior jobs within the interior, defence and communications ministries.

They have had their picks appointed to state oil, electricity and transport bodies, to state-owned banks and even to Iraq’s central bank, according to more than a dozen government officials and lawmakers.

Power player

When he raises his index finger and frowns, Iraq holds its breath.

Al-Sadr has time and again emerged as a powerful player in Iraqi politics, and been able to mobilise his loyalists.

Hundreds of them have for days occupied the country’s parliament with adherence to one guiding principle: obedience to al-Sadr. He has urged other political factions to support the protest.

Iraqi protesters fill the Parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq. AP

Today, as in past years following the 2003 US-led overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq cannot ignore the grey-bearded preacher who once led a militia against American and Iraqi government forces.

As per Indian Express, Al-Sadr emerged as US’ enemy number one after the fall of Saddam.

In 2004, The Guardian quoted Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez saying, “The mission of US forces is to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr.”

As per Indian Express, in 2003, the Al-Sadrist and the affiliated militia (Mahdi army) started a resistance against the US troops following the country’s invasion.

These militias under al-Sadr are now called the “peace companies,” as per the report.


Analysts have said Al-Sadr, who wears a black turban symbolic of a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, is now using street protests to signal that his views must be taken into account in government formation.

On Sunday he lauded on Twitter the takeover of parliament inside the capital’s fortified Green Zone of diplomatic and government buildings.

Al-Sadr called it a “spontaneous revolution… a first step” towards “an extraordinary opportunity for a fundamental change”.

That’s his position now, but the chameleon-like figure has made several reversals over the years, including in 2008 when he suspended activities of his 60,000-member Mahdi Army, which had been one of Iraq’s most active and feared Shia militias.

He reactivated the group after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

Al-Sadr retains a devoted following of millions among the country’s majority Shia population, including in the poor Baghdad district of Al-Sadr City.

“The Al-Sadrist base is significant in Baghdad and the southern provinces because it represents a Shia underclass that struggled during the previous government but viewed Muhammad al-Sadr as a religious authority who cared for them and preached to them when no one else dared to. This base continues to feel marginalised today, and al-Sadr appeals to them as the heir to his father’s position, but also as they feel he is their voice against all other political and religious factions,” Sajad Jiyad, a fellow at Century International and director of the Shia Politics Working Group, told Al Jazeera.

“He can occupy the streets. No one in Iraq can do it as well as him,” said Hamdi Malik, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Perhaps uniquely in Iraq, al-Sadr has “a very obedient base” which also comprises a formidable online presence attacking his rivals in cyberspace, Malik said.

“Everything is revolving around him. That in Iraq is very important,” he added.

During youth-led protests that erupted in 2019, Al-Sadr sent thousands of followers to support the movement.

He then called them back, and later invited them to “relaunch the peaceful reformist revolution”.

Ben Robin-D’Cruz, a specialist in Shia movements at Aarhus University in Denmark, said Al-Sadr “tries to position himself simultaneously in the centre of the political system while distancing himself from it”.

A Iraqi protester holds a poster of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his late father Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr as others breach the Parliament. AP

His religious character, the researcher said, “allows him to create this illusion of transcending politics”.

He has a chequered relationship with Iran.

Al-Sadr’s bloc contested the 2010 legislative election in an alliance with the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, a Shia group with links to the Islamic republic.

Nationalist, potential kingmaker

In October, though, Al-Sadr campaigned as a nationalist and emerged as a potential kingmaker.

Al-Sadr initially said he would not take part in the October election but then backtracked to campaign on vague themes of reconstruction, opposition to Iranian influence, and a pledge to “end corruption”.

Nearly 10 months after elections, the oil-rich but impoverished country is still without a new government.

Al-Sadr’s bloc emerged from the ballot as the biggest parliamentary faction, but intense negotiations since then have failed to bridge the divide between it and rival Shia groups.

In June, his 73 lawmakers quit in a bid to break the logjam but that led to a pro-Iran bloc, his opponents, becoming the largest in parliament.

The current standoff pits him against the pro-Iran Coordination Framework which includes lawmakers from the party of Al-Sadr’s longtime foe, ex-prime minister Nuri al-Maliki — who gained the premiership in 2006 with support from Al-Sadr but whose followers later pulled out of Maliki’s cabinet.

As a result of past deals, the Al-Sadrists have been accused by their opponents of being as corrupt as other political forces.

Supporters of Al-Sadr, however, are ready to follow him almost blindly and view him as a champion of the anti-corruption fight.

“All the people are with you, Sayyed Muqtada,” the protesters chanted, using his title, before they stormed parliament on Saturday.

With inputs from agencies

The New Palestinian Resistance Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

The New Palestinian Resistance

Young militants are ditching old-style factionalism to fight Israel’s occupation.

By Dalia Hatuqa

MARCH 29, 2023, 2:20 PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank—On March 19, representatives from Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority (PA), United States, and Egypt met in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh in an attempt to address rising violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The meeting came ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Passover, which overlap this year. The month has traditionally seen an uptick in tensions in the region: during Ramadan in May 2021, Israeli restrictions on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound set off a chain reaction that led to an 11-day Israeli offensive on Gaza; 261 Palestinians were killed, per a United Nations count.

The inauguration of Israel’s most extreme right-wing government in history late last December has only made the situation in the West Bank grimmer. Last month, a Palestinian shooting in the West Bank town of Huwara left two Israeli settlers dead. It was apparent retribution for the Israeli military killing 11 Palestinians and injuring more than 100 in a daytime raid in the city of Nablus just a few days earlier. A mob of settlers responded to the shooting with a deadly rampage that some called a pogrom.

The Sharm el-Sheikh summit, like a similar summit in Jordan’s Red Sea town of Aqaba in February, quickly proved futile; another shooting in Huwara on the same day left an Israeli settler seriously injured.

Then, this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to delay a contentious judicial reform plan that had provoked mass protests among Israelis to the summer session of parliament. In exchange for buy-in from his coalition partner, Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, Netanyahu agreed to form a new security force that will operate under the direct orders of Ben-Gvir, who has previously been convicted of inciting racism. Some Palestinians fear this step will add fuel to the fire already raging in the West Bank.

For the better part of the year, the PA has proved unable to stem escalating tensions in the occupied territory, and to stop attacks as dictated by its security coordination understanding with Israel. It has also proved unable to eliminate new armed resistance groups that have popped up across the occupied territory in response to liberalized Israeli settlement policies and near-daily killings of Palestinians by the Israeli military. These new armed groups have shed traditional Palestinian factionalism to collaborate in fighting Israel’s occupation—and a PA they view as complicit.

Last March, the Israeli military launched Operation Breakwater, raiding the West Bank on a near daily basis after a wave of Palestinian-perpetrated attacks in Israel. Twelve months later, the violence shows few signs of abating. 2022 ended as the deadliest year on record for West Bank Palestinians since the end of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in 2005—and 2023 is on track to be even more fatal. About 75 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year; Palestinian fighters have killed 14 Israelis over the same period, according to the U.N.

The high death toll has galvanized a new generation of Palestinian fighters organizing to resist Israeli military raids in their communities. They are hyper-localized—operating in the trenches of refugee camps and old cities—and act in defiance of the PA, which engages in security cooperation with Israel and frequently targets these same groups. The mostly young men hail from across the West Bank, from the sleepy desert city of Jericho to the sprawling northern city of Nablus and the decrepit refugee camp of Jenin. They are often seen toting M16 rifles and wearing balaclavas to avoid being identified.

Traditionally, Palestinian militant groups functioned as the armed wings of political parties, such as Hamas and the PA’s Fatah. A militia’s operations supported its party’s political objectives. But during the second intifada, lone-wolf attacks became more widespread. In the uprising’s aftermath—and under pressure from Israeli intelligence—many traditional groups saw their ranks dwindle and organizational structures collapse. This gave way to a decentralized model of resistance, with small cells and breakaway factions dominating the militant landscape.

Since 2022, fighters from different traditional factions have begun to cooperate under new umbrella groups. Many young men decided to take matters into their own hands after growing up seeing the entrenchment of Israel’s occupation, routine bombing of the Gaza Strip, and growth of Israeli settlements. They are also disillusioned with the PA, whose political strategy has not yielded tangible results during their lifetime.

Nablus’ Lions’ Den and the Jenin Brigade are the largest new groups. But smaller cohorts have also cropped up, like the Balata Brigade in the eponymous refugee camp and the Osh al-Dababir (Hornets’ Nest) Battalion, also in the Jenin camp. Israel—and the PA—are struggling to get a handle on them all.

“The Lions’ Den in Nablus and the Jenin Brigade represent a security threat to Israel[i] forces and settlers living in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” said Khaldoun Barghouti, a Palestinian analyst specializing in Israeli affairs. “Israel fears … the emergence of new copycat groups in other Palestinian cities or refugee camps. This situation could lead to escalation in the West Bank.

West Bank coordination is vital to Mahmoud Abbas’s and the Palestinian Authority’s survival. It’s also hugely unpopular among ordinary Palestinians.

The Lions’ Den has regularly engaged in armed clashes with and shootings of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank. Last October, the group shot and killed an Israeli soldier in the occupied territory. In February, the Nablus Battalion, Lions’ Den, and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (the armed wing of Fatah) in Nablus said that their members had shot at Israeli forces raiding the city.

The rise of these groups doesn’t come as a surprise to observers, given the iron fist with which Israel rules the West Bank and the inability of the PA to crack down on these collectives without stirring public ire.

“The Lions’ Den and other formations in West Bank cities are a natural byproduct of 30 years of willful international failure to end the occupation and contentment with a PA that does what it is told,” said Nour Odeh, a former PA government spokeswoman. “They are also a natural response to the rise of racist fascist parties in Israel whose agenda threatens the existence of the Palestinian people.”

Israel’s new government is the most conservative, right-wing, and nationalist in its history. Since it came to power in late December 2022, a member of Netanyahu’s governing coalition has done or said something that breaks with even Israeli policy norms on an almost weekly basis. Netanyahu’s temporarily suspended efforts to overhaul the state’s judiciary and consolidate power have also created a schism within Israeli society, prompting mass protests and even straining relations with longtime allies.

The PA is unable and unwilling to do anything to respond to the new Israeli government’s constant deluge of anti-Palestinian actions and rhetoric. It broke off security coordination with Israel after the deadly Nablus raid in February, only to reinstate it shortly thereafter. Palestine and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, now 88, is widely seen as unfit for office but has a coterie of Israel- and United States-approved aides who keep the status quo running.

Following the second intifada, the PA integrated senior al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade members into its formal security apparatus as part of a disarmament and demobilization program, allowing the group to maintain some control on the street level. However, the PA’s security forces seem unable to control violence on the ground any longer—and are finding themselves bystanders to a new conflict raging before their eyes.

There have been spikes in violence across the West Bank since the second intifada. The difference today is that the new armed groups have blurred the lines of Palestinian politics’ traditional factionalism by working across longtime divides. Newer militias such as the Lions’ Den, for example, comprise men who are affiliated with Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The militias linked to these factions used to act independently to claim credit for military operations and gain credibility with the Palestinian public.

The shooter who killed two Israeli settlers on Huwara’s main road in February was a Hamas member from Nablus. But he chose to hide out in the Jenin refugee camp, where he was sheltered by fighters from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

This fluidity has proved frustrating for Israel, as it makes it more difficult for its military to strike preemptively. “When armed groups are proliferating and when it comes to the fact that they … do not have a clear political platform, that’s a problem for Israel because [Israel] always want[s] to have an address,” said Mairav Zonszein, a senior analyst on Israel and Palestine with the International Crisis Group. “[Israel] want[s] to know who to blame, who is responsible.”

Many Palestinians now see traditional political factions as a burden, either because they view them as ineffective or because they are active participants in—and beneficiaries of—political divisions upheld by Israeli and U.S. political interests.

According to a recent opinion poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a growing percentage of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza—58 percent—support a return to armed confrontations and intifada against Israel. With Israel’s lurch to the right, increasing deadly Israeli raids on Palestinian population centers, and the absence of a political solution to the occupation, Palestinians are looking for alternatives to the “wait and see” status quo upheld by the PA.

In the same survey, more than 70 percent of West Bank Palestinians said they supported the first Huwara shooting attack that left two Israeli settlers dead, while two-thirds supported forming new armed groups that do not take orders from the PA, such as the Jenin Battalion or the Lions’ Den. Support for these new, independent groups is seen as an outgrowth of the Palestinian public’s growing mistrust of the PA and hopelessness about the prospect of a political solution to the occupation.

“Public support for armed resistance is further confirmed by overwhelming opposition to the Palestinian participation in the Aqaba meeting,” the poll’s authors wrote. “A large majority, standing at 70 [percent], think Israeli counter measures, which are meant to punish those who commit armed attacks or their families, such as home demolitions, expulsion, or the imposition of the death penalty, will only lead to an increase in the intensity of such attacks.”

Israel’s attempts to clamp down on the new armed groups seem to have bolstered the groups’ popularity among Palestinians even further. Despite their relatively modest means, the militias have already secured the trust of the Palestinian street. In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have responded to militias’ calls for protests in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip—and even in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. When the groups independently called for full-scale commercial closures in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Ramallah, people complied—undermining the PA by positioning it as corrupt and weak.

The violence in the West Bank seems unlikely to abate, as Israeli raids on Palestinian cities continue and Palestinian casualty numbers rise. Israeli settlers continue to commit violent rampages against Palestinians with impunity, emboldened by their new political leadership. The fact that the PA is unable to protect its own citizens but collaborates with Israel on security has effectively evaporated what little respect and trust it still enjoyed.

“Israel is aware of the crisis in the PA, and it would obviously prefer not to have to do all those raids, but it’s an endless cycle in which it does so and the PA loses even more legitimacy,” Zonszein said. “None of these armed groups are listening to the PA anyway.”

US won’t be able to stop the Chinese nuclear horn: Daniel 7

US won't be able to stop Chinese nuclear development: Gen. MilleyUS Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley

US won’t be able to stop Chinese nuclear development: Gen. Milley

China has ‘intercontinental ballistic missiles that can range the United States,’ says Joint Chiefs chairman

Servet Günerigök  |30.03.2023 – Update : 30.03.2023


US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that China’s nuclear weapons capability is “bothersome” and Washington will not be able to stop its development. 

“They have a significant nuclear capability today, and they have intercontinental ballistic missiles that can range the United States,” Milley said during a House Committee on Armed Services hearing alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“We are probably not going to be able to do anything to stop slow down, disrupt, interdict or destroy the Chinese nuclear development program that they have projected out over the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. “They’re going to do that in accordance with their own plan.”

The intelligence community said in its annual threat assessment earlier this month that China may have surpassed the US in the number of nuclear warheads in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program.

The top general said China is on a “disturbing” path to becoming militarily “superior” to the US by mid-century.

“They have a national goal to be a global coequal with the United States and superior militarily by mid-century. They’re on that path to do that and that’s really disturbing. That’s really bothersome,” he added.

Regarding China, Milley said in addition to Beijing’s nuclear weapons capacity, Washington is also concerned about China’s rapprochement with Russia.

“In this particular strategic environment that we’re seeing that two of them are getting closer together. I wouldn’t call it a true, full alliance in the real meaning of that word. But we are seeing them moving closer together. And that’s troublesome,” he added.

The general also warned that China and Russia have the means to threaten US interests but “war with either is neither inevitable nor imminent,”

The Horns Prepare for Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Worldwide arsenal of nuclear weapons available for use rose in 2022

Pakistan, Russia, China, India, North Korea all increased stockpiles of warheads in 2022


The global arsenal of nuclear weapons available “for use” by the armed forces of the nuclear-armed states increased in 2022 as the fear of a nuclear war also surged, the latest Nuclear Weapons Ban Monitor report showed Wednesday.PauseUnmute

The “fear of nuclear war surged to the highest levels since the Cold War following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said the monitor released by the humanitarian relief organization Norwegian People’s Aid.

In collaboration with the think tank Federation of American Scientists, the organization published the latest data on global nuclear forces.

“Pakistan, Russia, China, India, North Korea, all increased their stockpiles of warheads in 2022, bringing about an increase by 136 warheads from the 9,440 warheads that were available for use in early 2022 to 9,576 in 2023,” said Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

The hike was registered despite a slight annual drop in the global inventory of nuclear warheads, including in 2022, when it decreased from 12,705 warheads at the beginning of the year to the estimated 12,512 warheads in January 2023.

Old weapons dismantled

“This is only still true because Russia and the United States each year dismantle a small number of their older nuclear warheads that have been retired from service,” said Kristensen.

At the start of this year, nine nuclear-armed states had 12,512 nuclear warheads, of which 2,936 are retired and awaiting dismantlement.

That leaves 9,576 nuclear warheads available for use by the military, with a collective destructive power equal to more than 135,000 Hiroshima bombs.

The increase of weapons ready for use is “worrying” and continues a trend started in 2017, said the monitor editor, Grethe Lauglo Ostern of Norwegian People’s Aid.

“If this does not stop, the total number of nuclear weapons in the world will also soon increase again for the first time since the Cold War,” said Ostern.

She noted that all nine nuclear-armed states — China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the US, and the UK – refuse to join the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

“The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated that nuclear weapons do not create peace or stability,” said Henriette Westhrin, the secretary-general of Norwegian People’s Aid.

“They do not deter aggression but enable conventional wars and incentivize risk-taking that could lead to nuclear war. This report shows how urgent it is for the nuclear-armed states and their allies to take concrete steps towards disarmament.”

The report also noted that they are acting in contravention of the treaty by continuing to develop, produce, and stockpile nuclear weapons.

Still, it is not just the nuclear-armed states whose activities are incompatible with the TPNW.

Non-nuclear states contravene

Also, the report shows that 35 non-nuclear-armed states, including the world’s so-called 32 umbrella states, contravened the treaty in 2022 by assisting and encouraging continued possession of nuclear weapons. 

Europe has the highest number of countries whose actions run counter to the TPNW and that vote against the treaty of the UN.

“These states perpetuate the idea that nuclear weapons are legitimate and necessary and are a major obstacle to nuclear disarmament,” said Ostern.

Despite this, the Ban Monitor stressed that the TPNW gained strength last year.

The speed with which new countries sign and ratify the treaty accelerated following a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A significant milestone, the treaty’s First Meeting of States Parties, was held in Vienna in June 2022.

Five countries under the US “nuclear umbrella” attended the Vienna meeting as observers, showing early signs of a willingness to “engage constructively” with the treaty.

As of this month, the nuclear ban treaty has “68 states parties” and 27 countries that have signed but not yet ratified the treaty.

The monitoring group said only four more states need to join the treaty to exceed 50% of all states.