Saudi Arabia Ready to Nuke Up

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Saudi-Iranian Rivalry Fuels Potential Nuclear Race

James M. Dorsey, Contributor Dr.

Saudi Arabia is developing nuclear energy and potentially a nuclear weapons capability.

The Saudi focus on nuclear serves various of the kingdom’s goals: diversification of its economy, reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels, countering a potential future Iranian nuclear capability, and enhancing efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran emerges as the Middle East’s long-term, dominant power.

Cooperation on nuclear energy was one of 14 agreements worth $65 billion signed during last month’s visit to China by Saudi King Salman. The agreement is for a feasibility study for the construction of high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) nuclear power plants in the kingdom as well as cooperation in intellectual property and the development of a domestic industrial supply chain for HTGRs built in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement was one of number nuclear-related understandings concluded with China in recent years. Saudi Arabia has signed similar agreements with France, the United States, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea and Argentina.

To advance its program, involving the construction of 16 reactors by 2030 at a cost of $100 billion, Saudi Arabia established the King Abdullah Atomic and Renewable Energy City devoted to research and application of nuclear technology.

Saudi cooperation with nuclear power Pakistan has long been a source of speculation about the kingdom’s ambition. Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, asserts that Saudi Arabia’s close ties to the Pakistani military and intelligence during the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave the kingdom arms’ length access to his country’s nuclear capabilities.

“By the 1980s, the Saudi ambassador was a regular guest of A. Q. Khan” or Abdul Qadeer Khan, the controversial nuclear physicist and metallurgical engineer who fathered Pakistan’s atomic bomb, Mr. Haqqani said in an interview.

Retired Pakistani Major General Feroz Hassan Khan, the author of a semi-official history of Pakistan’s nuclear program, has no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

“Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear program to continue, especially when the country was under sanctions,” Mr. Khan said in a separate interview. Mr. Khan was referring to US sanctions imposed in 1998 because of Pakistan’s development of a nuclear weapons capability. He noted that at a time of economic crisis, Pakistan was with Saudi help able “to pay premium prices for expensive technologies.”

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a just published report that it had uncovered evidence that future Pakistani “assistance would not involve Pakistan supplying Saudi Arabia with a full nuclear weapon or weapons; however, Pakistan may assist in other important ways, such as supplying sensitive equipment, materials, and know-how used in enrichment or reprocessing.”

The report said it was unclear whether “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia may be cooperating on sensitive nuclear technologies in Pakistan. In an extreme case, Saudi Arabia may be financing, or will finance, an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility in Pakistan for later use, either in a civil or military program,” the report said.

The report concluded that the 2015 international agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear program had “not eliminated the kingdom’s desire for nuclear weapons capabilities and even nuclear weapons… There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities, motivated by its concerns about the ending of the JCPOA’s major nuclear limitations starting after year 10 of the deal or sooner if the deal fails,” the report said.

Rather than embarking on a covert program, the report predicted that Saudi Arabia would, for now, focus on building up its civilian nuclear infrastructure as well as a robust nuclear engineering and scientific workforce. This would allow the kingdom to take command of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle at some point in the future. Saudi Arabia has in recent years significantly expanded graduate programs at its five nuclear research centres.

Saudi officials have repeatedly insisted that the kingdom is developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes such as medicine, electricity generation, and desalination of sea water. They said Saudi Arabia is committed to putting its future facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saudi Arabia pledged to acquire nuclear fuel from international markets in a 2009 memorandum of understanding with the United States. In its report, ISIS noted however that the kingdom could fall back on its own uranium deposits and acquire or build uranium enrichment or reprocessing plants of its own if regional tension continued to fester. It quoted a former IAEA inspector as saying Saudi Arabia could opt to do so in five years’ time.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear agency has suggested that various steps of the nuclear fuel cycle, including fuel fabrication, processing, and enrichment, would lend themselves to local production. Saudi Arabia has yet to mine or process domestic uranium.

Saudi insistence on compliance with the IAEA and on the peaceful nature of its program is designed to avoid the kind of international castigation Iran was subjected to. Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain its position as long as Iran adheres to the nuclear agreement and US President Donald J. Trump does not act on his campaign promise to tear up the accord. Mr. Trump has toughened U.S. attitudes towards Iran but has backed away from tinkering with the nuclear agreement.

“The current situation suggests that Saudi Arabia now has both a high disincentive to pursue nuclear weapons in the short term and a high motivation to pursue them over the long term,” the ISIS said.

Saudi ambitions and the conclusions of the ISIS report put a high premium on efforts by Kuwait and Oman to mediate an understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran that would dull the sharp edges of the two countries’ rivalry.

They also are likely to persuade Mr. Trump to try to pressure Iran to guarantee that it will not pursue nuclear weapons once the JCPOA expires in a little over a decade. That may prove a tall order given Mr. Trump’s warming relations with anti-Iranian Arab autocracies evident in this week’s visit to Washington by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and an earlier visit by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

North Korea Fires Another Missile

North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea just a day before Trump-Xi summit

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With the Mar-a-Lago summit between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping only a day away, North Korea decided that now would be the perfect time to carry out yet another ballistic missile test.

Pyongyang’s missile program is expected to be one of the top topics conservation and contention between the two leaders at their talks in Florida on Thursday and Friday. In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, Trump set the stage by declaring that China has “great influence” over Pyongyang, but if Beijing was not going to help, then the United States would deal with the issue on its own.

“Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you,” Trump said.

A senior White House official echoed these hard-line remarks at a press briefing on Tuesday night, saying that “The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table.”

Earlier this week, a senior North Korean defector told NBC News that dictator Kim Jong Un was “desperate” to maintain his rule and was prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US and its allies, warning that the “world should be ready.”

The single ballistic missile was launched early this morning, flying for about 9 minutes before crashing into the Sea of Japan. The US military said that it appeared to be a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile that posed no threat to North Korea.

Afterward, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued this terse and confusing response: “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”

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Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that the US and China were like two trains accelerating headlong on a collision course, condemning North Korea for its missile launches, but also placing blame on the US for raising tensions with troop activities.

Beijing has been working diligently at getting all sides back to the negotiating table, but have had their efforts undermined by continued missile tests from Pyongyang. In February, Beijing responded to North Korea missile tests by banning coal imports from the country for the rest of the year, cutting off a significant portion of the hermit kingdom’s foreign income. In response, Pyongyang fired back, accusing its only ally of “dancing to the tune of the US.”

The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus (Revelation 6:12)

The Sixth Seal by Nostradamus
To Andrew the Prophet
Completed February 5, 2008

Nostradamus and the New City

Nostradamus and the New City

Les Propheties
(Century 1 Quatrain 27)

Michel de Nostredame Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war, And then Arethusa will color a new river red.(And then areth USA will color a new river red.) Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth.Will cause the towers around the New City to shake,Two great rocks for a long time will make war

There is recent scientific evidence from drill core sampling in Manhattan, that the southern peninsula is overlapped by several tectonic plates. Drill core sampling has been taken from regions south of Canal Street including the Trade Towers’ site. Of particular concern is that similar core samples have been found across the East River in Brooklyn. There are also multiple fault lines along Manhattan correlating with north-northwest and northwest trending neo-tectonic activity. And as recently as January and October of 2001, New York City has sustained earthquakes along these plates. For there are “two great rocks” or tectonic plates that shear across Manhattan in a northwestern pattern. And these plates “for a longtime will make war”, for they have been shearing against one other for millions of years. And on January 3 of 2010, when they makewar with each other one last time, the sixth seal shall be opened, and all will know that the end is near.

And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

Arethusa is a Greek mythological figure, a beautiful huntress and afollower of the goddess Artemis. And like Artemis, Arethusa would have nothing to do with me; rather she loved to run and hunt in the forest. But one day after an exhausting hunt, she came to a clear crystal stream and went in it to take a swim. She felt something from beneath her, and frightened she scampered out of the water. A voice came from the water, “Why are you leaving fair maiden?” She ran into the forest to escape, for the voice was from Alpheus, the god of the river. For he had fallen in love with her and became a human to give chase after her. Arethusa in exhaustion called out to Artemis for help, and the goddess hid her by changing her into a spring.But not into an ordinary spring, but an underground channel that traveled under the ocean from Greece to Sicily. But Alpheus being the god of the river, converted back into water and plunged downthe same channel after Arethusa. And thus Arethusa was captured by Artemis, and their waters would mingle together forever. And of great concern is that core samples found in train tunnels beneath the Hudson River are identical to those taken from southern Manhattan. Furthermore, several fault lines from the 2001 earthquakes were discovered in the Queen’s Tunnel Complex, NYC Water Tunnel #3. And a few years ago, a map of Manhattan drawn up in 1874 was discovered, showing a maze of underground waterways and lakes. For Manhattan was once a marshland and labyrinth of underground streams. Thus when the sixth seal is broken, the subways of the New City shall be flooded be Arethusa:the waters from the underground streams and the waters from the sea. And Arethusa shall be broken into two. And then Arethusa will color a new river red.

And then areth USA will color a new river red.

For Arethusa broken into two is areth USA. For areth (αρετη) is the Greek word for values. But the values of the USA are not based on morality, but on materialism and on wealth. Thus when the sixth seal is opened, Wall Street and our economy shall crash and “arethUSA”, the values of our economy shall fall “into the red.” “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:15-17)

Antichrist Opposes Corruption In Iraq

Why Iraq’s Anti-Corruption Body Head Wants to Quit – and Can’t

Supporters of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gather during a protest against corruption at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, March 2017. Credit: Reuters

Baghdad: Fighting corruption in Iraq is such a relentless and thankless job that Hassan al-Yasiri has been trying for nearly a year to quit.

Yasiri, head of Iraq’s independent anti-graft body the Commission of Integrity, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in June 2016 just a year after taking the post. It was rejected.

He insisted on resigning anyway, but has agreed to stay until a replacement is found. So he soldiers on, trying to root out graft in a country where bribery and the theft of state resources are blamed for everything from low living standards to the army’s collapse in the face of ISIS.

One of the reasons he wanted to quit, he says, was because the authorities took action in only 15% of the 12,000 cases of suspected corruption his commission investigated and reported to the judiciary last year.

“The number is very small. We want the judiciary to speed up the execution of cases to keep pace with the commission,” said Yasiri, 47. “This pains me greatly.”

Yasiri said he has taken bold steps, sending investigators to open up the files of every ministry looking for the slightest sign of corruption, and slapping travel bans on top officials for the first time.

Senior officials have been forced to become more transparent about their finances.

But all the while he faces constant criticism from political blocs, used to using their control of ministries to hand out favours to their supporters. A member of Iraq’s Shi’ite majority, he has been accused by Sunnis and Kurds of favouring his own sect, and by other Shi’ites of going after Shi’ites.

A senior Iraqi official approached him at his office in a highly fortified area of Baghdad, he recalls, without identifying the official.

We don’t mix the cocktail

“He told me, ‘All those people you refer to justice are Shi’ites.’ He said, ‘There must be balance. There should be Sunnis and Kurds’,” said Yasiri.

“I told him: ‘We don’t mix this cocktail’.”

The prime minister has declared war on corruption but met fierce resistance from politicians, including some from within his bloc, who resisted efforts to remove political faction leaders from top posts and replace them with technocrats.

A parliamentary committee concluded that corruption within the officers corps was one of the reasons the Iraqi army fled without opposing the sweeping advance of ISIS in 2014.

At the time, military officers were siphoning off the salaries of recruits who did not exist, known as ghost soldiers.

Yasiri said that problem had been reduced by closer scrutiny of the defence ministry, but more work was needed. Officers were still collecting part of the salary of some soldiers in return for allowing them to go on indefinite leave.

“There are one million people in the army. In all countries it is very hard to eliminate corruption among these large numbers,” he said. “We are trying to tighten the noose around the corrupt, but it is difficult to eliminate corruption overnight. We need more time.”

(Reuters)

Iran’s Tit For Tat

Iran Sanctions US Companies and Considers a Bill to Designate US Military and CIA As “Terrorist Groups”

Published: 05 April 2017

Apparently in response to U.S. sanctions placed on dozens of Iranian entities earlier this year, following Iran’s unlawful ballistic missile tests, the Iranian regime imposed sanctions on 15 American companies, last week. Among other things, it accused them of “support for terrorism”.

The U.S. companies who were targeted do not do business in Iran.

Additionally, a senior Iranian lawmaker stated that Iran is now considering a bill calling the U.S. military and the CIA “terrorist groups” in reaction to the U.S. Congress’s bill to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). The White House’s review of that possibility has rattled Tehran, as it would have far-reaching consequences for the IRGC, who control a large portion of Iran’s entire economy.

Evidently, these are Tehran’s latest reactions to the new U.S. administration’s tougher rhetoric. The former American administration followed a policy of appeasement, giving Tehran many concessions. However, that policy has ended.

According to an article by Ali Safavi, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, “In 2005, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei executed an elaborate and comprehensive plan to strengthen the IRGC. In May of that year, Khamenei issued a directive instructing the government to transfer 80 percent of its holdings to “non-governmental public, private and cooperative sectors” — a.k.a. Khamenei and IRGC affiliates — by 2009. A month later, he engineered the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

He continues, “Ahmadinejad came out of nowhere to occupy the presidential palace. A day before the election, official opinion polls had pegged his support at 1.7 percent. The poll favorite, with 28-percent support (a 17-fold superiority over Ahmadinejad), was the former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,” and adds, “True to form, Ahmadinejad quickly stacked ministries with veterans of the IRGC. Half of his cabinet members were IRGC members. A year earlier, IRGC veterans had won the majority of seats in parliament. Shortly after Ahmadinejad’s win, the IRGC announced an internal restructuring push to reflect its expanding roles and responsibilities on the political playing field.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, published a new book entitled, “The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire”. In it, they divulge how the state-owned assets were transferred to the IRGC, including large mines, primary industries, foreign commerce, banks, insurance, power industries, post, roads, railroads, airlines and shipping companies.

It is estimated that $12 billion worth of assets were transferred to Khamenei and the IRGC between 2005 through 2008, who now own 14 major powerhouses that run the economy, according to the NCRI, including a conglomerate known as Setad; the foundations (or bonyads) like the Mostazafan, Astan-e Qods, and Shahid foundations; the IRGC Cooperatives; major business empires like the Khatam Construction Co. and Ghadir Investments; as well as “cooperatives” controlled by the security forces.

The NCRI reports that Tehran spends between $15-20 billion annually to fund the war in Syria, including some $1 billion in salaries. Addiionally, at least $1 billion is provided annually to the Lebanese Hezbollah. Yemen and Iraq are supported by the IRGC and Khamenei, according to the report.

Western business ventures and governments should be warned that “doing business with Iran is doing business with the IRGC.”

According to Safavi, “The new administration should designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity. The possibility alone has inspired Iran’s resort to pathetic countermeasures. However comical, they are harmless. And that’s a step in the right direction.”