Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Fire and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. Gaza militants fired rockets at Israel and Israel carried out airstrikes as tensions soared following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. The raid killed nine Palestinians, including at least seven militants and a 61-year-old woman. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

    Israel, Gaza fighters trade fire after deadly West Bank raid

    By ISABEL DEBREtoday

    Fire and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. Gaza militants fired rockets at Israel and Israel carried out airstrikes as tensions soared following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. The raid killed nine Palestinians, including at least seven militants and a 61-year-old woman. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Gaza militants fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes early Friday as tensions soared following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank that killed nine Palestinians, including at least seven militants and a 61-year-old woman.

    It was the deadliest single raid in the territory in over two decades. The flare-up in violence poses an early test for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government and casts a shadow on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s expected trip to the region next week.

    Of the five rockets fired at Israel, three were intercepted, one fell in an open area and another fell short inside Gaza, the military said. It said the airstrikes targeted an underground rocket manufacturing site for Hamas as well as militant training areas.

    The rockets set off air raid sirens in southern Israel but there were no reports of casualties on either side.

    Both the Palestinian rockets and Israeli airstrikes seemed limited so as to prevent escalation into a full-blown war. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several smaller skirmishes since the militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

    Thursday’s deadly raid in the Jenin refugee camp was likely to reverberate on Friday as Palestinians gather for weekly Muslim prayers that are often followed by protests. Hamas had earlier threatened revenge for the raid.

    Raising the stakes, the Palestinian Authority said it would halt the ties that its security forces maintain with Israel in a shared effort to contain Islamic militants. Previous threats have been short-lived, in part because of the benefits the authority enjoys from the relationship and also due to U.S. and Israeli pressure to maintain it.

    The Palestinian Authority already has limited control over scattered enclaves in the West Bank, and almost none over militant strongholds like the Jenin camp. But the announcement could pave the way for Israel to step up operations it says are needed to prevent attacks.

    On Thursday, Israeli forces went on heightened alert as Palestinians filled the streets across the West Bank, chanting in solidarity with Jenin. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning, and in the refugee camp, residents dug a mass grave for the dead.

    Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas had decided to cut security coordination in “light of the repeated aggression against our people.” He also said the Palestinians planned to file complaints with the U.N. Security Council, International Criminal Court and other international bodies.

    Barbara Leaf, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, said the Biden administration was deeply concerned about the situation and that civilian casualties reported in Jenin were “quite regrettable.” But she also said the Palestinian announcement to suspend security ties and to pursue the matter at international organizations was a mistake.

    Thursday’s gun battle that left nine dead and 20 wounded erupted when Israel’s military conducted a rare daytime operation in the Jenin camp that it said was meant to prevent an imminent attack on Israelis. The camp, where the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group has a major foothold, has been a focus of near-nightly Israeli arrest raids.

    Hamas’ armed wing claimed four of the dead as members, while Islamic Jihad claimed three others.

    The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the 61-year-old woman killed as Magda Obaid, and the Israeli military said it was looking into reports of her death.

    The Israeli military circulated aerial video it said was taken during the battle, showing what appeared to be Palestinians on rooftops hurling stones and firebombs on Israeli forces below. At least one Palestinian can be seen opening fire from a rooftop.

    Later in the day, Israeli forces fatally shot a 22-year-old and wounded two others, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as Palestinians confronted Israeli troops north of Jerusalem to protest Thursday’s raid. Israel’s paramilitary Border Police said they opened fire on Palestinians who launched fireworks at them from close range.

    Tensions have soared since Israel stepped up raids in the West Bank last spring, following a series of Palestinian attacks.

    Israel’s new national security minister, far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to grant legal immunity to Israeli soldiers who shoot Palestinians, posted a video of himself beaming triumphantly and congratulating security forces.

    The raid left a trail of destruction in Jenin. A two-story building, apparently the operation’s target, was a charred wreck. The military said it entered the building to detonate explosives.

    Palestinian Health Minister May Al-Kaila said paramedics struggled to reach the wounded during the fighting, while Akram Rajoub, the governor of Jenin, said the military prevented emergency workers from evacuating them.

    Both accused the military of firing tear gas at the pediatric ward of a hospital, causing children to choke. Video at the hospital showed women carrying children into a corridor.

    The military said forces closed roads to aid the operation, which may have complicated rescue efforts, and that tear gas had likely wafted into the hospital from nearby clashes.

    The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said Thursday marked the single bloodiest West Bank incursion since 2002, at the height of an intense wave of violence known as the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, which left scars still visible in Jenin.

    U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said he was “deeply alarmed and saddened” by the violence. Condemnations came from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkey, which recently reestablished full diplomatic ties with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries also condemned the Israeli raid.

    The Islamic Jihad branch in Gaza has repeatedly fought against Israel, most recently in a fierce three-day clash last summer that killed dozens of Palestinians and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

    Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, making 2022 the deadliest in those territories since 2004, according to B’Tselem. So far this year, 30 Palestinians have been killed.

    Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed. So far this year, not including Thursday, one-third of the Palestinians killed by Israeli troops or civilians had ties to armed groups.

    Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

    Israel says its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, which Israel captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians claim those territories for their hoped-for state.

    Israel has established dozens of settlements in the West Bank that now house 500,000 people. The Palestinians and much of the international community view settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace, even as talks to end the conflict have been moribund for over a decade.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel; Areej Hazboun in Jerusalem; Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Fares Akram in Hamilton, Ontario, contributed.

    Stakes rise as Iran can fuel ‘several’ atom bomb: Daniel 8

    FILE - International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi gives a news conference at the Vienna Airport upon returning from Tehran, Iran, in Vienna, Austria, March 5, 2022. Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build "several" nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations' top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

    Analysis: Stakes rise as Iran can fuel ‘several’ atom bombs

    By JON GAMBRELLyesterday

    FILE – International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi gives a news conference at the Vienna Airport upon returning from Tehran, Iran, in Vienna, Austria, March 5, 2022. Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build “several” nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations’ top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build “several” nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations’ top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic.

    The warning from Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in response to questions from European lawmakers this week, shows just how high the stakes have become over Iran’s nuclear program. Even at the height of previous tensions between the West and Iran under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran never enriched uranium as high as it does now.

    For months, nonproliferation experts have suggested Iran had enough uranium enriched up to 60% to build at least one nuclear weapon — though Tehran long has insisted its program is for peaceful purposes. While offering a caveat on Tuesday that “we need to be extremely careful” in describing Iran’s program, Grossi bluntly acknowledged just how large Tehran’s high-enriched uranium stockpile had grown.

    “One thing is true: They have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons, not one at this point,” Grossi said.

    The Argentine diplomat then referred to Benjamin Netanyahu’s famous 2012 speech to the United Nations, in which the Israeli prime minister held up a placard of a cartoon-style bomb with a burning wick and drew a red line on it to urge the world to not allow Tehran’s program to highly enrich uranium. While the 2015 nuclear deal drastically reduced Iran’s uranium stockpile and capped its enrichment to 3.67%, Netanyahu successfully lobbied then-President Donald Trump to withdraw from the accord and set up the current tensions.

    “You remember there was to be this issue of the breakthrough and Mr. Netanyahu drawing things at the U.N. and putting lines — well, that is long past. They have 70 kilograms (155 pounds) of uranium enriched at 60%. … The amount is there,” Grossi said. “That doesn’t mean they have a nuclear weapon. So they haven’t proliferated yet.”

    But the danger remains. Analysts point to what happened with North Korea, which had reached a 1994 deal with the U.S. to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The deal fell apart in 2002. By 2005 and wary of U.S. intentions after its invasion of Iraq, Pyongyang announced it had built nuclear weapons. Today, North Korea has ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads that are capable of reaching the U.S.

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    Iranian diplomats for years have pointed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s preachings as a binding fatwa, or religious edict, that Iran wouldn’t seek an atomic bomb. However, Iranian officials in recent months have begun openly talking about the prospect of building nuclear weapons.

    Iran’s mission to the U.N., responding to questions about Grossi’s remarks, insisted in comments to The Associated Press on Thursday that Tehran “is prepared to stick to its commitments within the framework of the (deal) provided the other parties do the same.”

    “The Iranian nuclear program has never been about making nuclear weapons and enriching has nothing to do with deviating from it,” the mission said, despite Iran accelerating its enrichment after the deal’s collapse.

    Iranian state television separately quoted Mohammad Eslami, the head of the country’s civilian nuclear program, as saying Tehran would welcome a visit by Grossi to the country.

    As Iran’s rial currency plunges further to historic lows against the dollar amid its crises, Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also have made unsupported claims about American officials agreeing to their demands or frozen money abroad being released.

    At the State Department, the denials about Iran’s claims have grown more and more pointed.

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    “We’ve heard a number of statements from the Iranian foreign minister that are dubious if not outright lies, so I would just keep that broader context in mind when you point to statements from the Iranian foreign minister,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday in a response to a question.

    Price and others in President Joe Biden’s administration say any future talks with Iran remain off the table as Tehran cracks down on the months-long protests after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained in September by the country’s morality police. At least 527 people have been killed and over 19,500 arrested amid the unrest, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the protests.

    Another part of the Americans’ exasperation — and increasingly of the Europeans as well — comes from Iran arming Russia with the bomb-carrying drones that repeatedly have targeted power plants and civilian targets across Ukraine. It remains unclear what Tehran, which has a strained history with Moscow, expects to get for supplying Russia with arms. One Iranian lawmaker has suggested the Islamic Republic could get Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to replace its aging fleeting comprised primarily of pre-1979 American warplanes, though such a deal hasn’t been confirmed.

    Such fighter jets would provide a key air defense for Iran, particularly as its nuclear sites could increasingly be eyed. Israel, which has carried out strikes to halt nuclear programs in Iraq and Syria, has warned it will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb.

    The U.S. and Israel also launched their largest-ever joint air, land and sea exercise this week with over 140 warplanes, an aircraft carrier group and nearly 8,000 troops called Juniper Oak. The Pentagon described the drill as “not meant to be oriented around any single adversary or threat.” However, it comes amid the heightened tensions with Iran and includes aerial refueling, targeting and suppressing enemy air defenses — capabilities that would be crucial in conducting airstrikes.

    For now, Grossi said there was “almost no diplomatic activity” over trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement he now describes as “an empty shell.” But he still urged more diplomacy as Tehran still would need to design and test any possible nuclear weapon.

    “We shouldn’t give up,” he said.

    ___

    EDITOR’S NOTE — Jon Gambrell, the news director for the Gulf and Iran for The Associated Press, has reported from each of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Iran and other locations across the world since joining the AP in 2006. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

    Pakistani Economic Crisis Will Lead to the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

    Pakistan Economic Crisis: The Consequences Of A Hostile Nuclear Neighbour That Is Now BankruptPakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

    Pakistan Economic Crisis: The Consequences Of A Hostile Nuclear Neighbour That Is Now Bankrupt

    byGaurie Dwivedi-Jan 27, 2023 10:29 AM +05:30 IST

    Snapshot
    • In Pakistan’s impending downfall, China will seek to maximise its investments with strategic gains.Is India prepared? 

    By now, everyone has seen the images of Pakistan’s total power blackout and the serpentine queues outside fuel stations as the country is surviving on a thin supply of oil.

    Pakistan has under $4.4 billion in forex exchange reserves, which can buy less than three weeks of imports.

    Trump is correct: providing tanks to Ukraine will lead to ‘nukes’

    Trump Zelensky
    President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York.

    Trump suggests providing tanks to Ukraine will lead to ‘nukes’ and says ending the war with Russia would be ‘easy’

    Jan 26, 2023, 4:48 PM

    • Donald Trump appeared to criticize a decision by the US and Germany to provide tanks to Ukraine. 
    • “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES,” Trump said on his social media platform.
    • Trump also suggested ending the war in Ukraine would be “easy,” without elaborating.

    Former President Donald Trump, whose first impeachment was linked to his dealings with Ukraine, on Thursday appeared to criticize the US and Germany over their recent decisions to provide battle tanks to Kyiv at a time when Russia is expected to launch another major offensive. Trump suggested offering tanks to Ukraine would lead to the use of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Trump said it would be “easy” to end the war, without providing any suggestions on how this would be accomplished. 

    “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do,” Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, said in a post on his social media platform Truth Social. 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump referred to as a “genius” the week Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has repeatedly made nuclear threats throughout the war. Western countries have accused Putin of reckless nuclear saber-rattling. Nuclear experts have expressed grave concerns about Putin’s threats, as leading historians warning that the Russian leader’s rhetoric and actions have presented nuclear dangers even greater than during the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War. 

    But many top military analysts and Russia experts also say that Putin’s nuclear threats are largely designed to deter the West from continuing to provide Ukraine with crucial security assistance. The US and other NATO countries have sent billions of dollars worth of aid to Ukraine, including vital weapons that have played a key role on the battlefield and wreaked havoc on Russia’s forces. Ukraine recently pushed hard for the West to provide tanks as it looks to defend against the ongoing Russian invasion but also makes preparations to regain control of occupied territory.

    Trump, who has routinely praised Putin, has consistently been a critic of US aid to Ukraine. The former president’s first impeachment was tied to his effort to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into launching an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, over unfounded allegations of corruption. At the time, Biden was a presidential candidate and Trump’s top political rival.

    As he pressured Zelenskyy to launch the inquiries, Trump simultaneously froze congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine as it continued to fight a war against Kremlin-backed rebels in the country’s eastern Donbas region. Much of the fighting in the war Putin launched in late February 2022 has occurred in the Donbas, which is comprised of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions — two out of four Ukrainian territories the Russian leader illegally annexed in September. 

    Though Trump suggested it would be “easy” to end the war in Ukraine, that is not a view that is widely shared by experts or people with experience in diplomacy. Putin’s decision to illegally annex four Ukrainian territories, declaring them as part of Russia, has made the possibility of talks to end the fighting extraordinarily unlikely. Russian forces do not fully occupy these regions, and Kyiv has been clear it would not agree to any peace terms requiring it to cede territory to Moscow. 

    “The fact that the Russians have annexed four [Ukrainian] provinces makes an agreement nearly impossible,” Gérard Araud, the former French ambassador to the US and the United Nations, told Insider this week.

    Speaking on Putin’s goal of dividing the West to weaken support for Ukraine, Araud also said that “the Russians have always dreamed of having Trump back because in military terms the support of the Americans is really overwhelming compared to the support of the Europeans.”

    The US has provided more security aid to Ukraine than any other country — over $27 billion since Russia invaded. But a number of Republicans in Congress loyal to Trump have expressed opposition to continued aid to Ukraine, citing economic concerns.

    Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)



    Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake
    A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.
    Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.
    The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.
    Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.
    A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
    That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.
    New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.
    Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.
    That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).
    It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.
    Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.
    Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
    His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.
    Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.
    These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.
    Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.
    You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich VillageBut if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.
    In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.
    The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.
    Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?
    “Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”
    He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.
    “These guys are loaded,” he tells me.
    He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.
    “We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.
    What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.
    That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.
    Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.
    “So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”
    Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.
    He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.
    He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).
    “We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”
    Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

    Israel army kills 10 Palestinians, wounds at least 20 outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

    Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian Mahdi Ladado, 17, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes, near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

    Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian Mahdi Ladado, 17, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes, near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

    Israeli troops killed 10 Palestinians and wounded 20 others in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

    An elderly woman has been reported among the dead in one of the deadliest days in the occupied West Bank since Israeli raids intensified at the start of last year, reports Al Jazeera, citing Palestinian officials.

    During the Jenin raid, which has been described as a “massacre”, at least 20 others have been wounded with live ammunition. Four of them were in critical condition.

    Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters towards the hospital, which seeped into the children’s division, causing suffocation injuries, including among children, said Wissam Baker, head of Jenin public hospital.

    “There is an invasion that is unprecedented … in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries,” Wissam Baker told Al Jazeera.

    The Israeli military said that special forces had been sent into Jenin to detain Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of carrying out and planning “multiple major terror attacks.”

    Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and besieged the camp in the early hours with undercover forces, dozens of armoured vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.

    Jenin is among the areas of the northern West Bank where Israel has intensified raids over the past year, in an attempt to crack down on growing armed Palestinian resistance.

    Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said that they had also lost one of their fighters, Izz al-Din Salahat.

    Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians during raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January, including five children. At least 15 of those killed were from Jenin.

    More than 170 Palestinians were killed in such raids in 2022, many of them civilians.

    Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian Mahdi Ladado, 17, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes, near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

    Israel army kills 10 Palestinians, wounds at least 20

    Mourners attend the funeral of Palestinian Mahdi Ladado, 17, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes, near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 8, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

    Israeli troops killed 10 Palestinians and wounded 20 others in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

    An elderly woman has been reported among the dead in one of the deadliest days in the occupied West Bank since Israeli raids intensified at the start of last year, reports Al Jazeera, citing Palestinian officials.

    During the Jenin raid, which has been described as a “massacre”, at least 20 others have been wounded with live ammunition. Four of them were in critical condition.

    Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters towards the hospital, which seeped into the children’s division, causing suffocation injuries, including among children, said Wissam Baker, head of Jenin public hospital.

    “There is an invasion that is unprecedented … in terms of how large it is and the number of injuries,” Wissam Baker told Al Jazeera.

    The Israeli military said that special forces had been sent into Jenin to detain Islamic Jihad fighters suspected of carrying out and planning “multiple major terror attacks.”

    Israeli forces launched a large-scale raid and besieged the camp in the early hours with undercover forces, dozens of armoured vehicles and snipers. Armed clashes with Palestinian resistance fighters soon broke out.

    Jenin is among the areas of the northern West Bank where Israel has intensified raids over the past year, in an attempt to crack down on growing armed Palestinian resistance.

    Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade said that they had also lost one of their fighters, Izz al-Din Salahat.

    Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians during raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in January, including five children. At least 15 of those killed were from Jenin.

    More than 170 Palestinians were killed in such raids in 2022, many of them civilians.

    Russian Horn warns it will treat uranium shells in German Leopard 2 tanks as ‘dirty bombs’

    Russia warns it will treat uranium shells in German Leopard 2 tanks as ‘dirty bombs’

    By Jack Newman For Mailonline 09:46 EST 26 Jan 2023 , updated 09:46 EST 26 Jan 2023

    A Kremlin official has warned that will consider the use of any depleted uranium weapons in their new tanks as nuclear ‘dirty bombs’.

    Konstantin Gavrilov, head of Russia’s delegation on the OSCE forum on security cooperation, claimed that Ukraine could arm their German-supplied Leopard 2 tanks with ‘uranium core armour-piercing’ shells.

    The ammunition known as the ‘Silver Bullet’, which was used by the US in the Gulf War and during Allied bombing in Kosovo and Yugoslavia, uses dense depleted uranium or spent uranium fuel to penetrate the thick steel of enemy tanks.

    Depleted uranium is less radioactive than the isotopes used in nuclear bombs, but months after the end of Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia, Italian soldiers were diagnosed with leukaemia linked to the Silver Bullet.

    On hitting a tank or bunker, they disintegrate, with up to 40 per cent of the uranium, which is still radioactive, turning into fine powder. 

    The weaponry is largely discontinued and there is no evidence the Leopard 2 tanks are armed with the dangerous shells.

    But that has not stopped Russia alleging the West is planning to deploy them on the battlefield against Putin’s troops.

    Gavrilov said: ‘We warn Western sponsors of the Kyiv military machine from encouraging nuclear provocations and blackmail. 

    ‘We know that the Leopard 2 tank, as well as the Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, are armed with uranium-core armor-piercing projectiles, the use of which leads to contamination of the area, as happened in Yugoslavia and Iraq. 

    ‘If Kyiv is supplied with such shells for NATO heavy military equipment, we will consider this as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia with all the ensuing consequences.’

    Russia has throughout the war accused the West and Ukraine of colluding to use nuclear weapons against Kremlin forces, without evidence.

    They claimed last year that Ukraine was preparing a ‘dirty bomb’ which disperses radioactive material upon explosion.

    The comments are the latest in Russia’s sabre-rattling threats following the ‘game-changer’ decision to supply Ukraine with the tanks. 

    Gavrilov said Germany was ‘simply forced’ by the US and NATO to give its tanks under the threat of international isolation after chancellor Olaf Scholz finally relented.

    The Kremlin claims the West is now ‘directly involved’ in the Ukraine war and Russia has already hit back with a barrage of missile strikes in Ukraine.

    The  and send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, 14 Leopard 2 tanks, and give allies permission to send their own supply. 

    Today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: ‘European capitals and Washington constantly give statements that sending various types of weapons, including tanks, in no way means their involvement in hostilities. We strongly disagree with this. In Moscow, this is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict and we see that this is growing.’

    Putin is also furiously retaliating by raining missiles down on Ukraine as an air raid was issued over the whole country in the early hours of this morning. 

    Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far, as civilians sheltered in subway stations amid the blitz.

    Missiles seen over Kyiv amid Russian fury at German tank deal

    A missile flies over Kyiv this morning as Vladimir Putin retaliated against the West for its tanks deal
    A missile flies over Kyiv this morning as Vladimir Putin retaliated against the West for its tanks deal 

    ‘The first Russian missiles have been shot down,’ Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office said.

    Russia has targeted critical infrastructure with missile and drone strikes since October, causing sweeping blackouts and other outages during the bitter winter.

    Despite the generous Western package, there are fears that Ukraine won’t be able to actually use the tanks on the front line for months, potentially after Russia’s anticipated spring offensive.

    The promised M1 Abrams tanks from the US are not even in supply at the moment and will take months to arrive before training can even commence, senior officials have said.

    Moment Russian missile is seen soaring over Ukraine

    An air raid alert was issued over the whole of Ukraine early this morning as defence units shot down a stream of incoming missiles
    An air raid alert was issued over the whole of Ukraine early this morning as defence units shot down a stream of incoming missiles 
    Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far
    Defending forces said they shot down all 24 drones fired from Moscow including 15 around Kyiv, with no reports of any damage so far 
    People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv today
    People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv today 
    Ukrainian civilians wait in subway stations underground while Russia pounded Kyiv with missiles
    Ukrainian civilians wait in subway stations underground while Russia pounded Kyiv with missiles 
    Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm
    Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm 
    Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm
    Putin has wasted no time in punishing Ukraine by blasting missiles overnight, after a period of relative calm 
    Fighting has re-intensified in Bakhmut after the tank deal ramped up the war following a period of relative calm
    Fighting has re-intensified in Bakhmut after the tank deal ramped up the war following a period of relative calm 

    The modern tanks need to be procured, then the US will begin a ‘comprehensive training programme’ for Ukrainian soldiers, which will also need spare parts and will require significant maintenance once deployed.

    Germany and European Leopard 2 tanks will likely arrive sooner but will still require training as Kyiv forces have become accustomed to their Soviet-era tanks used so far in the war.

    Germany’s tanks would probably be ready in three or four months, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said. 

    The fact that Leopard 2, M1 Abrams and Challenger tanks will all be arriving in the coming months, each needing separate parts and training, will complicate matters for Ukraine. 

    Brad Martin, director of the RAND Institute for Supply Chain Security, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘Unfortunately, it does mean that each of these capabilities is going to need their own supply chains because they are different, their parts are different, the maintenance requirements are different.

    ‘I don’t know that it’s such a large challenge that it can’t be met but all things being equal it would be better to have common systems but they’re working with what they have.

    ‘The United States has a number of Abrams tanks and some of them would have to be refurbished in order to be exported… it’s certainly true that they’re not sitting there ready to go, work will have to be done to get any of them ready to be deployed.

    Germany will initially send 14 Leopard 2s to Ukraine, and aims to provide 80 tanks overall
    Germany will initially send 14 Leopard 2s to Ukraine, and aims to provide 80 tanks overall 
    The US is sending dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks to help with their war-effort
    The US is sending dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks to help with their war-effort 

    How the day unfolded as US and Germany send tanks to aid Ukraine

    A Ukrainian soldier is seen on his way to frontlines with their armoured military vehicles as strikes continue
    A Ukrainian soldier is seen on his way to frontlines with their armoured military vehicles as strikes continue 

    Germany's 55-ton Leopard 2 tank combines aspects of firepower, protection, speed and maneuverability - making it adaptable to many types of combat situations
    Germany’s 55-ton Leopard 2 tank combines aspects of firepower, protection, speed and maneuverability – making it adaptable to many types of combat situations 

    ‘A lot of this is rather complicated sophisticated stuff and it takes time to learn how to deal with this, training is going to be a very big issue.

    ‘Supply chains and the acquiring of spare parts take time, and those two things together will be a challenge.’ 

    Western countries have made ‘no clear indication’ of how many tanks will be given to Ukraine, an advisor to the country’s defence minister has said.

    Yuriy Sak told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘We need 300 to 400 tanks for this to be a game changer.

    ‘This tank coalition consisting of different countries, we have no clear indication of how many tanks each country will provide. We have communicated to our partners that this is the number that we need.

    ‘If you want missile terror to stop you need to receive the weapons that will allow us to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.

    ‘The sooner we defeat Russia on the battlefield using Western weapons the sooner we will be able to stop this missile terror and restore peace.’

    Zelensky has praised the US and German commitments to send tanks and urged allies to provide large quantities of tanks quickly.

    ‘The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support,’ he said in a nightly video address on Wednesday. ‘We have to form such a “tank fist”, such a “fist of freedom”.’

    Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to give its troops the firepower to break Russian defensive lines and reclaim occupied territory in the south and east. Ukraine and Russia have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

    The promise of tanks comes as both Ukraine and Russia are expected to launch new offensives in the war.

    Maintaining Kyiv’s drumbeat of requests for more aid, Zelensky said he spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and called for long-range missiles and aircraft.

    Ukraine’s allies have already provided billions in military support including sophisticated U.S. missile systems.

    The United States has been wary of deploying the difficult-to-maintain Abrams but had to change tack to persuade Germany to send to Ukraine its more easily operated Leopards.

    Biden said the tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia and that they were needed to help the Ukrainians ‘improve their ability to manoeuvre in open terrain’.

    Germany will send an initial company of 14 tanks from its stocks and approve shipments by allied European states.

    The Abrams can be tricky, but the Leopard was designed as a system that any NATO member could service and crews and repair specialists could be trained together on a single model, Ukrainian military expert Viktor Kevlyuk told Espreso TV.

    ‘If we have been brought into this club by providing us with these vehicles, I would say our prospects look good.’

    Russia reacted with fury to Germany’s decision to approve the delivery of the Leopards.

    ‘This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation,’ said Sergei Nechayev, Russia’s ambassador to Germany.

    Pledges to Ukraine from other countries that field Leopards have multiplied with announcements from Poland, Finland and Norway. Spain and the Netherlands said they were considering it.

    A view shows a Puma infantry fighting vehicle during firing practice, at armoured infantry training area Altengrabow, Germany, today
    A view shows a Puma infantry fighting vehicle during firing practice, at armoured infantry training area Altengrabow, Germany, today 
    German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius is seen a day after finally agreeing to supply tanks to Ukraine
    German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius is seen a day after finally agreeing to supply tanks to Ukraine 

    How human wave attacks and slaughter ‘won’ Battle of Soledar

    Britain has offered 14 of its comparable Challenger tanks and France is considering sending its Leclercs.

    The Kyiv government acknowledged on Wednesday its forces had withdrawn from Soledar, a small salt-mining town close to Bakhmut in the east, that Russia said it captured more than a week ago, its biggest gain for more than six months.

    The area around Bakhmut, with a pre-war population of 70,000, has seen some of the most brutal fighting of the war.

    Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces were attacking in the direction of Bakhmut ‘with the aim of capturing the entire Donetsk region and regardless of its own casualties’.

    The Russian-installed governor of Donetsk said earlier that units of Russia’s Wagner contract militia were moving forward inside Bakhmut, with fighting on the outskirts and in neighbourhoods recently held by Ukraine.

    Analyst Kevlyuk said losing Bakhmut would not change much in terms of the tactical scheme of things but that he was more concerned by Russian efforts to regroup and concentrate resources in the Luhansk region.

    Donetsk and Luhansk make up the Donbas region. Russian forces control nearly all of Luhansk, while Russians and their proxies say they control about half of Donetsk.

    Reuters could not verify battlefield reports.

    The 11-month war has killed thousands of people, driven millions from their homes and reduced cities to rubble.

    Obama’s Anti-Imperialist Fantasy Bears Bitter Fruit: Daniel 8

    Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images
    Mark Makela/Getty Images

    ‘In life, as in politics, incompetence can often explain more than bad ideas’MARK MAKELA/GETTY IMAGES

    Obama’s Anti-Imperialist Fantasy Bears Bitter Fruit

    The longer we refuse to acknowledge the mistakes of the Iran deal, the greater a price we pay

    BY

    MARK DUBOWITZ

    JANUARY 08, 2023

    The eventual fall of the Islamic Republic of Iran will reveal the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement to have been one of the worst unforced strategic errors in the history of U.S. foreign policy. At home, the Islamic Republic is the enemy of perhaps 80% or more of its own people, who see it as a criminal entity that murders them in the streets. Abroad, the clerical regime sows further chaos and bloodshed, threatening the United States and its allies and earning the hatred of peoples across the Middle East. Locking the United States in a nearly decadelong embrace of a failing theocratic totalitarian state is a policy disaster of unrivaled proportions, driven by no apparent external necessity. So why is the Biden administration finding it so difficult to move on?

    Oddly, or not, the answers—or nonanswers—to this mystery seem to reveal as much about the unique psyche of the American president at the time, Barack Obama, as they do about the decadelong policy debate on Iran that continues to consume Washington. Yet for some of his supporters and detractors, Obama was simply a practioner of fact-based geopolitics—even if the facts in the end were against him. In this view, Obama as president understood the Islamic Republic as posing a severe threat to American interests and forged a limited agreement to constrain a regime that would be even more dangerous with nuclear weapons. To these critics, he pursued the right goals, but was just remarkably bad at achieving them. A more experienced bargainer might have achieved a better deal.

    Alternatively, to others, the explanation of what went wrong is rooted in the unique character and upbringing of the American leader himself. According to this reading, Obama’s choices were rooted in a personal distaste for Western imperialism and American power that was not shared by many of the deal’s supporters or its detractors. It was Obama’s own picture of the world, not any broader consensus view of how American power should be employed or conserved in the Middle East, that led him into a delusional engagement with anti-Western Sunni and Shiite actors, notably the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Republic, and into a strategic realignment that strengthened these American adversaries against America’s traditional allies, notably Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    In life, as in politics, incompetence can often explain more than bad ideas. In this reading, Obama deserves more blame for his negotiating ineptitude with the mullahs than he does for some ill-conceived scheme of Middle East realignment that supercharged Persian regional power. The 2015 deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was simply a bad deal that wouldn’t stop Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, not a bad idea rooted in anti-Western theories from the American faculty lounge, where Obama had spent considerable time. But then why are we still stuck backing such an obvious loser? 

    Even as the clerical regime publicly disintegrates, JCPOA supporters continue to argue for the merits of a limited agreement that would even temporarily put Iran’s nuclear program “back in a box,” as Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, put it. Opponents counter that, more than seven years later, a return to the 2015 agreement would be even more wrongheaded than the original deal. Sunsets kick in over a few short years, and the regime would receive a windfall of an estimated $245 billion in sanctions relief in the first year, and over $1 trillion by 2030 when Iran’s nuclear program would be free and clear from meaningful limitations—rescuing a tottering, ill-intentioned and widely hated regime by pumping it full of cash that it would use to build nuclear weapons and sow regional chaos. The arms control paradigm, in which supporters and critics argue back and forth over what would constitute “a better deal,” is preventing a clear acknowledgement of Obama’s failure—and blocking the development of a workable strategy for dealing with current developments in Iran and throughout the region.

    The faults of the JCPOA have been covered many times, including by this author. The Obama administration abandoned its negotiating leverage, provided mainly by a bipartisan Congress which passed biting economic sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2012 over the objections of the Obama White House. The administration concluded a flawed interim nuclear agreement in 2013, and an even worse final agreement in 2015. The eventual deal trashed decades of bipartisan U.S. policy and multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to cease enriching uranium or reprocessing plutonium on its soil. While it temporarily delayed Iranian nuclear expansion, the deal ceded the right to develop nuclear fissile material to the Islamic Republic and contained a series of sunset provisions under which nuclear restrictions disappeared. These sunsets permitted Tehran to develop, over time, an industrial-size enrichment program, near-zero nuclear breakout capability, and an advanced centrifuge-powered sneak-out capacity, as even Obama himself acknowledged after the deal was concluded.

    Many critics of the deal argued that a longer, stronger, and broader agreement was possible if Obama had maximized the pressure on the regime, including through a credible threat of military force. Indeed, the Trump administration came into office promising to do exactly that. Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, imposed crushing sanctions that ravaged the Islamic Republic’s finances, and dealt a serious blow to Iranian regional power with the joint Mossad-CIA killing of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most competent military strategist and most feared battlefield commander.

    Analysts and partisans continue to debate what could have transpired if this “maximum pressure campaign” had lasted longer than two years. But Biden reversed Trump’s pressure strategy, looked the other way as Chinese purchases of Iranian oil spiked, and waited too long before tackling a massive clandestine sanctions network that earned the regime tens of billions of dollars in hard currency. Predictably this “maximum deference” approach, meant to lure Iran back to the bargaining table, has failed to deliver any agreement, including even a return to a weaker version of the JCPOA. Instead, Iran’s nuclear program has rapidly and dangerously expanded under Biden’s watch, with no serious discussion about how to stop it—aside from stuffing the Islamic Republic’s pockets with more cash.

    Getty Images

    The Iran Deal’s Inevitable SequelBarack Obama’s plan was never about stopping Iran from obtaining a bomb. It was about realigning American interests in the Middle East in order to remake the Democratic Party at home.

    BYGABRIEL NORONHA

    As protests continue to rage in Iran, with more than 2,000 demonstrations in over three months across all of Iran’s provinces and Iranians demanding regime change and “death to the dictator,” the place to start to answer the question of how we got ourselves into this mess is an earlier Iranian uprising: the 2009 Green Revolution. Then, the fraudulent reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an even more blatant act of election manipulation than had been common in the Islamic Republic, led to massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Tehran.

    The 2009 demonstrations were bigger in size than anything since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, including the current protests. The Green Revolution had clear leadership with support inside some elements of the regime itself; it arguably represented a more cohesive and threatening political opposition to the regime than this year’s leaderless street demonstrations. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself said that the 2009 protests had taken the clerical regime “to the edge of the cliff.” So why did the 2009 Green Revolution fail?

    The key to the regime’s successful campaign of repression in 2009 was America’s decision to appease the Islamic Republic at the expense of the Iranian people. The demonstrators were clearly looking outward with the expectation of Western support, especially from the young, supposedly idealistic, newly elected American president. When Obama instead took pains to reassure the Iranian leadership of his commitment to engagement, he made it clear to the demonstrators that they were on their own against their jailers. Within a few weeks, the would-be revolution collapsed.

    In the moment, many people outside Iran cut Obama considerable slack. It was just the beginning of his presidency, and his focus was clearly on getting out of Iraq, as he had promised. Yet, in retrospect, there is something disturbing about what Obama did in 2009 that looks even more troubling from the vantage point of Syria, Crimea, and the Donbas, and America’s continuing inability to forget about the JCPOA.

    Why did Obama so comprehensively and demonstratively turn his back on the Iranian democracy protesters in 2009, in what was his first major foreign policy decision as president? It is a deep question, especially since Obama himself, after bipartisan and European support swung behind the 2022 protests, has belatedly acknowledged that his lack of support for the Green Revolution was a mistake.

    The first set of answers again lies in the familiar area of realpolitik: Obama didn’t want any distractions in getting the United States out of Iraq, and he saw Iran as the keystone to a smooth withdrawal. Angering the Iranian leadership would only lead to greater American casualties, which could cause a political firestorm, with Obama blamed for getting U.S. soldiers killed. That would force him to surge in more troops to Iraq to assuage the Pentagon and Congress, rather than withdrawing them.

    Yet Obama had a problem in carrying out his withdrawal from Iraq: Congress was passing tough sanctions on Iran over the objections of the White House. In response, he wrote letters to Iran’s supreme leader offering an end to U.S.–Iranian hostilities and greater political and economic engagement. As the regime took Obama’s messaging as a green light to rapidly increase its influence in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Gaza, even as America’s Sunni allies warned of a “Shiite crescent” that threatened their own stability, Obama did little to confront Tehran.

    Yet Obama’s strategic priority in 2009 was not to cement a U.S. deal with Iran at any cost. It was to engage with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was seen as the commander of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Obama characterized Erdogan as the type of moderate Muslim leader that could help him stabilize a turbulent Middle East. Turkey was a NATO member and major Middle Eastern military power. Engaging with Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood also meant taking out Egypt’s authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak, who had repressed the Brotherhood, and stood in the way of the Arab Spring.

    It is possible from one angle to see Obama’s support for the Arab Spring as support for democracy in the Middle East. Yet as his decision to turn his back on the Iranian pro-democracy protesters suggests, Obama was hardly a supporter of regional democrats. Nor was he particularly interested in supporting Iraq’s struggling democracy, which he saw as a tar pit that would only prolong U.S. engagement in the region—which he strongly opposed. In place of U.S. engagement, Obama supported anti-Western, “one election” Islamists who, like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Erdogan in Turkey, and Khamenei in Iran, used and abused democratic mechanisms to gain and keep power. His preference was not for democrats per se, but for anti-imperialists who overthrew or sought to overthrow autocratic U.S. allies.

    Yet the Arab Spring turned out very differently than Obama expected. When the Arab Spring in Egypt led to the takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian military, backed by many secular Egyptians who had demonstrated against Mubarak, launched a coup to restore secular authoritarian rule. In Syria, a democratic uprising led to a brutal crackdown by Bashar Assad, with support from Iran-backed ground troops.

    The failures of the Arab Spring meant the collapse of Obama’s vision for a Middle East led by the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. It was only after that vision collapsed that Obama sent his advisers Jake Sullivan and Bill Burns to Oman in 2013 to explore nuclear negotiations with the Iranians—in the hopes of finding another Middle Eastern power aside from Turkey that could “stabilize” the region in the wake of America’s withdrawal from Iraq.

    Unsurprisingly, Iran often seemed to exist for Obama not as a threat to U.S. interests but as a historical victim of Western imperialism, which supposedly overthrew a “democratically elected” Iranian prime minister and installed the shah. Iran’s repressive theocratic regime seemed less notable for its blatant offenses against its own people, or its efforts to destabilize neighboring states, than for its role as the bête noire of warmongering neoconservatives in the United States, who supported a regional structure that put America on the side of troublemakers such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. Faced with the choice between the Islamic Republic and its enemies, Obama found it surprisingly easy to take the side of the mullahs—putting himself and the United States crossways both to U.S. interests and the hopes and dreams of the Iranian people.

    Obama’s big Iran play, which continues to shape U.S. regional policy to this day, was therefore neither “values-driven” nor purely pragmatic. His apparent goal was to extricate the United States from a cycle of endless conflict—one of whose primary causes, as he saw it, was Western imperialism. In doing so, Obama sought to be the first anti-imperialist American president since Dwight Eisenhower, who had backed Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser against the British, French, and Israelis in the 1956 Suez war. (Eisenhower later admitted that backing Nasser and abandoning the United States’ traditional allies had been one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency.)

    Yet the Iranians were not, in fact, powerful enough to play the “balancing” role Obama envisioned for them, as their failure to stabilize Syria proved. He therefore stood aside, willingly or not, as the Russians intervened on the Iranian side to bomb the Syrian resistance. For rescuing the Islamic Republic and its allies in Syria, Putin was allowed to invade Crimea and the Donbas with minimal opposition from the Obama administration.

    Anti-imperialist narratives were clearly important to Obama, and make sense as products of his unique upbringing. The fact that they utterly failed to correspond to regional realities caused multiple problems on the ground in the Middle East. Obama’s policy of trying to put the United States on the side of his own preferred client states created a slaughter in Syria that in turn led to multiple other slaughters throughout the region. The rise of ISIS was fueled partly in response to vicious Iran-backed attacks against Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis. The shocking rise of the Islamic State required Obama to send U.S. troops into Syria and back into Iraq. It also emboldened Putin, who invaded Ukraine for the third time in 2022.

    Obama’s ongoing and catastrophic policy failure, which has blocked the Biden administration from developing any kind of workable strategic vision for dealing with current realities in Iran and throughout the region, demonstrates that substituting American narratives about purity and guilt for hard-power realities is a dangerous business. Ideologically driven anti-Western narratives led the United States to place dangerous and wrongheaded bets on Sunni Islamists and Shiite theocrats at the expense of our own interests and friends. Poorly executed policy led to a fatally flawed nuclear agreement that continues to bedevil the Biden administration and America’s European and Middle Eastern allies. The JCPOA was a big mistake. The longer we refuse to admit that, the higher the price we will continue to pay.

    The Pakistani Horn’s Nuclear Threat: Daniel 8

    Pakistan's Nuclear Threat And A Two Front War!

    Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat And A Two Front War!

    Coming to TWO FRONT WAR narrative of Indian thinkers — one has to take into account that it would no more be a regional conflict. It would definitely escalate to a global conflict, with many nations getting involved directly or indirectly.

    26 Jan 2023

    A latest book, ‘Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love l’ by Mike Pompeo, an ex Secretary of State of USA, during Donald Trump’s presidency, has caused a national defence and security storm of a great magnitude in India. He has talked of two issues. The first issue pertains to late Sushma Swaraj, former External Affairs Minister (EAM), during first tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from 2014- 2019. Mike Pompeo emphatically says that he did not pull on well with Sushma Swaraj. He also thinks that Sushma Swaraj did not have much  say in the foreign policy of India. He further reveals that he had good relations with NSA, Ajit Doval. Mike Pompeo goes on to say that he had good working relations with current EAM, Dr. S Jaishankar. He finds him very cordial, knowledgable and very confident .

    Second point he makes is about Balakot Surgical Strike by Indian Air Force on 26 Feb 2019. It was in response to Pakistan sponsored terror attack near Srinagar, where a bus carrying CRPF men, was attacked and 45 men were martyred. In response to Balakote surgical strike by India, stresses Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan had contemplated to carry out a nuclear strike. It is this revelation which has caused it to become a hot subject of debate in India. According to Pompeo, India too had geared up for a befitting nuclear response.

    Defence analysts in India have revived the debate on likely nuclear conflagration in the region. What is under question is ‘No First Use’ nuclear policy of India! Suggestions are being made to shed this policy and adopt a ‘pre- emptive’  approach. Analysts are more worried about the likelihood of a ‘two front’ war with China and Pakistan in unison. They question if India can withstand and sustain in such a scenario. Finally, it is also feared that China, who is militarily more stronger than India, can repeat a la – 1962 disgrace on India. These are obvious apprehensions and speculations of defence and security planners of India.

    The above apprehensions ought to be seen in a realistic assessment of the geo-strategic, geo-economical and geo-political environments. It is no doubt that ‘Brute Force wars’ have given way to ‘Brain Force Wars’, where technology plays a vital role. New concept of ‘No Contact wars’ have gained momentum. Missiles, Drones, Laser Guns, EMP Guns, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber Warfare, Robotics and Nano – Technology has added new dimensions to war – making.

    Thus, in the 21st Century, the war – making, at a scale being apprehended by Indian critics, is simply a joke. They are unrealistic in their assessment of geo- strategic and geo-political facts. To imagine that China can engage India in an all out military confrontation is without taking into accounts Chinese aims and objectives vis – a- vis Indian capabilities. China can do so only at a risk — grave one too—to jeopardise Xi Jinping’s not only ‘ONE CHINA’  policy but also his global supremacy desire by 2049.

    In fact, USA and West would be too happy to see two Asian Giants in a military confrontation. And China knows it. Besides, China also knows that India was NO MILITARY PUSHOVER like in 1962. In fact it was confused the Indian leadership of 1962, which did not use IAF. The outcome would have been different, if it was done. IAF then was far superior to PLAAF.

    Coming to TWO FRONT WAR narrative of Indian thinkers — one has to take into account that it would no more be a regional conflict. It would definitely escalate into a global conflict, with many nations getting involved directly or indirectly. Pakistan in any case is no more in a position to sustain a conventional war economically, atleast not in the near future.

    Do not forget the statement made by current Pakistani Prime Minister, Sh Shehbaz Sharief. He begged India to re-commence talks so as to normalise relations. His appeal was necessitated because of the dire economic crisis now Pakistan has got into! Having gone everywhere with a begging bowl but with no success, he had realised that economy can not be revived without normal relations with India. His priority is reviving economy and not rush to war. In fact, former Chief of Pakistan Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had recommended improving relations with India. He was over ruled by then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

    As regards likelihood of a nuclear threat from Pakistan —one feels it was being overstated. No doubts Pakistan has adequate nukes- both tactical and strategic. Also, she has been advocating ‘Full Soectrum Deterrence’ (FSD) to neutralise Indian conventional force supremacy. FSD seeks use of TNW (Tactical Nuclear Weapons) to checkmate India. Bottomline of employing FSD was against India gaining an upper hand in a conventional military confrontation. It is unlikely that it would indulge in a panic reaction after incidents like Balakot. An option is always considered but it remains in the meeting hall. Mike Pompeo might have knowledge of Pakistan military’s consideration of such an option. But it was not favoured. However, Pompeo is creating a sensation to sell his book in India. Such revelations are deliberately pushed so as to exploit great Indian market. Take it with a pinch of salt.

    Any nation with a policy of ‘FIRST USE’ of nuclear strike has to first decide ‘how much’ would be needed to incapacitate your adversary totally? Pakistan would have to ensure that India did not still have a second strike capability — because Indian response would be merciless, aimed at totally wiping out Pakistan from earth’s map. Therefore a question arises if Pakistan can achieve 100% kill of Indian nuke capability?

    This ALL OUT response of India is known to Pakistan’s Military. India might be 50% destroyed by Pak’s First Strike but India would then ensure Pakistan was 100% destroyed. Indian geography ensures at least 50% safety against Pak nuke strikes.

    It was this known response of India that military planners of Pakistan had, in the past, thought about STRATEGIC DEPTH in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it is NO more available. In fact, Afghanistan was no more friendly to Pakistan. The Taliban from Afghanistan attack across the Durand Line. One must know what Pakistan military thinks about the use of Nuclear weapons. Erstwhile Pakistan’s strongman General Pervez Musharaff had said that NUKES were only to be used as deterrent. General Bajwa laid emphasis on Geo- Economics. Present Chief cannot think otherwise because Military knows the consequences.

    Also note that extensive use of nukes against India would be as destructive to Pakistan as India. Nuclear strikes would throw up so much smoke, debris and dust that whole region would be covered. In a ‘War Game’ carried out in USA, last year, an Indo – Pak Nuclear War would kill 270 million people instantly, in seconds and minutes. Worst will follow after this. Survivors would envy the dead.

    Don’t forget about what happened after Balakote attack, then Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, had said in the Pakistan National Assembly! He had asked in anger: “DO YOU WANT ME TO ATTACK INDIA”? There are revelations made by PML ( N) that PM’s LEGS WERE SHAKING, when he had said so. (Tange Kaanp rahi thi).

    It is not easy for any leader of any country to make such a decision. Why are USA and WEST not interfering in Ukraine? Russia has made clear its bottom line of nuke attack. Should USA directly intervene, it would be a nuclear war. Putin minces no words on this. Should Pakistan even think of it, India will respond with greater speed. Indian military satellites must be keeping a 24 hours watch on likely nukes silos of Pakistan.


    (Col. Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into 3 Bihar. He is a battle-hardened veteran who served in  ’71 War & has operated extensively in various insurgency environs across the country. He is a renowned author, and a highly respected defence & national security expert writing for several reputed publications such as  ‘Defence and Security Alert’ (DSA), the ‘Indian Defence Review’ (IDR) among others. You can reach him on Twitter: @RajeeKushwaha, Email ID: rajee749@yahoo.com)

    (Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of ‘Mission Victory India’)

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    Reported seismic-like event before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

    Reported seismic-like event (likely no quake): 17 mi east of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, USA, Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023 at 12:53 pm (GMT -5)

    Reported seismic-like event (likely no quake): 17 mi east of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, USA, Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023 at 12:53 pm (GMT -5) – 2 days ago

    Updated: Jan 26, 2023 21:00 GMT – just nowQUAKE DATA | INTERACTIVE MAP | NEW: SEISMOGRAMS | USER REPORTS | EARLIER QUAKES HERE | QUAKES IN THE US | NEW YORK | WASHINGTON DC24 Jan 17:57 UTC: First to report: VolcanoDiscovery after 4 minutes.Earthquake detailsDate & timeJan 24, 2023 17:53:56 UTC – 2 days agoLocal timeTuesday, Jan 24, 2023 at 12:53 pm (GMT -5)StatusdisregardedMagnitudeunknown (3?)Depth10.0 kmEpicenter40.69917°N / 73.37521°W (New York, United States)ShakingWeak shakingFelt1 reportPrimary data sourceVolcanoDiscovery (User-reported shaking)Nearby12 km (8 mi) ESE of Levittown (New York) (pop: 51,900) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    16 km (10 mi) E of East Meadow (New York) (pop: 38,100) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    18 km (11 mi) ENE of Freeport (New York) (pop: 43,300) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    21 km (13 mi) E of Hempstead (New York) (pop: 55,500) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    36 km (23 mi) E of Jamaica (New York) (pop: 216,900) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    49 km (30 mi) E of Brooklyn (New York) (pop: 2,300,700) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    53 km (33 mi) E of New York (pop: 8,175,100) | Show on map | Quakes nearby
    372 km (231 mi) NE of Washington (District of Columbia) (pop: 601,700) | Show on map | Quakes nearby