A Nuclear Saudi Arabia (Daniel 7:7)

Saudi-Iranian Rivalry Fuels Potential Nuclear Race

By James M Dorsey

Redress, April 10, 2017

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

The Saudi focus on nuclear serves a variety 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.

… http://andrewtheprophet.comSaudi 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.

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 programme, 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” – 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 programme, has no doubt about the kingdom’s interest.

Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear programme 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.”

There is little reason to doubt that Saudi Arabia will more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities…

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 programme,” the report said.

The report concluded that the 2015 international agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to curb Iran’s nuclear programme 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 programme, 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 programmes 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.

“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…” (Institute for Science and International Security)

Saudi insistence on compliance with the IAEA and on the peaceful nature of its programme 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 US 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 put pressure on 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 Muhammad bin Salman.

Antichrist Tells Assad To Step Down

Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power in the wake of a chemical attack that killed more than 80 people in Idlib province April 4.

Sadr is the first Shiite political leader to urge Assad to give up power, Reuters reported. The religious leader has a huge following particularly among Baghdad’s majority Shiite community, but holds no official political office.

The cleric also commands the allegiance of a number of militias in Iraq—co-opted into the Iraqi Army as ‘Popular Mobilization Units’—some of which have fought alongside Assad’s forces in Syria.

Sadr called on the Syrian president in Damascus to “take an historic, heroic decision” to step down, a move he said would spare the country further bloodshed. “I think it would be fair for President Bashar al-Assad to offer his resignation and step down in love for Syria, to spare it the woes of war and terrorism… and take a historic, heroic decision before it is too late,” he said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

However, Sadr did not openly condemn Assad for his use of the nerve agent sarin, dropped April 4 on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied any involvement in the attack, as it has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons throughout the six-year-long civil war, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Rather, the cleric warned Assad that further U.S. strikes would “drag the region to war” and could lead to the “the expansion of Daesh,” the Arabic name for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

Sadr has been a fierce opponent of the United States since America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The firebrand preacher rose to prominence, denouncing the occupation and created the Mahdi Army, an Iraqi militia, which launched attacks on the U.S. military.

The most recent and principal version of the Shiite Mahdi Army, the Saraya al-Salam, was remobilized to fight ISIS in 2014 as the militant Sunni group threatened the security of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. A number of the so-called Popular Mobilization Units, co-opted into the Iraqi Army in 2016, have links to the Mahdi Army.

In 2014, the Guardian reported that the Iran-backed militia, the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq formerly part of Sadr’s Mahdi Army, was fighting alongside Assad in Syria.

The Iraqi government, backed by Iran and allied with the U.S., has itself had to tread a careful line over the chemical weapons attack. The government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi condemned the chemical attack—without naming Assad—and called for an international investigation into the deaths.

The statement from Baghdad also criticized “the hasty interventions” that followed the chemical attack, a reference to U.S. air strikes launched late Thursday.

America Overdue For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Study: America Overdue For Major Earthquake … In States You Didn’t Suspect

New York Destroyed

Written by: Daniel Jennings Current Events

Most Americans have a reasonable chance of experiencing a destructive earthquake within the next 50 years, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has concluded.

The survey’s new National Seismic Hazard Map show that the risk of earthquakes in parts of the country — such as the Midwest, Oregon and the Rocky Mountains — is far higher than previously thought. All total, Americans in one-third of the country saw their risk for an earthquake increase.

“I worry that we will wake up one morning and see earthquake damage in our country that is as bad as that has occurred in some developing nations that have experienced large earthquakes,” Carl Hedde, a risk management expert at insurer Munich Reinsurance America, said of the map in The Wall Street Journal. “Beyond building collapse, a large amount of our infrastructure could be immediately damaged. Our roads, bridges and energy transmission systems can be severely impacted.”

Among the findings:

  • The earthquake danger in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and South Carolina is as high as that in Los Angeles.
  • 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years.
  • Parts of 16 states have the highest risk of a quake: Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky and South Carolina

“We know the hazard has increased for small and moderate size earthquakes,” USGS scientist William Ellsworth told The Journal. “We don’t know as well how much the hazard has increased for large earthquakes. Our suspicion is it has but we are working on understanding this.”

Frightening Results From New Study

The USGS used new computer modeling technology and data collected from recent quakes such as the one that struck Washington, D.C. in 2011 to produce the new maps. The maps show that many Americans who thought they were safe from earthquakes are not.

New Relocation Manual Helps Average Americans Get Out Of Harms Way Before The Coming Crisis

Some of the survey’s other disturbing findings include:

    • The earthquake danger in Oklahoma, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, New York and parts of New England is higher than previously thought.
    • Some major metropolitan areas, including Memphis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis and Charleston, have a higher risk of earthquakes than previously thought. One of the nation’s most dangerous faults, the New Madrid fault, runs right through St. Louis and Missouri. It is the nation’s second most active fault. On Dec. 16, 1811, the New Madrid Fault was the site of the most powerful series of earthquakes in American history.

Geological Tectonic Survey

“Obviously the building codes throughout the central U.S. do not generally take earthquake risk or the risk of a large earthquake into account,” USGS Seismologist Elizabeth Cochran told The Journal. Her take: Earthquake damage in the central US could be far greater than in places like California, because structures in some locations are not built to withstand quakes.

Others agree.

“Earthquakes are quite rare in many places but when they happen they cause very intense damage because people have not prepared,” Mark Petersen, the project chief for the USGS’s National Seismic Hazard Map, told The Journal.

This new map should be a wakeup call for Americans.

Iran Threatens Response To Trump’s Attack

Shia CrescentIran, Russia Threaten ‘Lethal Response’ to Further U.S. Action in Syria

BY: Adam Kredo Follow @Kredo0
April 10, 2017 5:00 am

Joint Russia-Iranian forces operating in Syria warned the Trump administration over the weekend that further American strikes on the war-torn country will unleash a “lethal response,” according to official statements aimed at ratcheting up tension with the United States following a string of fresh airstrikes on Syrian strongholds.

Iranian and Russian forces working together in Syria on behalf of embattled leader Bashar al-Assad issued a stern warning to the United States and threatened to take their own action against American military forces.

“We will respond to any aggression powerfully, as Russia and Iran would never allow the U.S. to dominate the world,” read a statement issued by the Syria-Iran-Russia Joint Operations Room, a combination of forces operating on behalf of Assad in Syria. The statement was first published in Iran’s state-controlled media.

The statement raises the stakes of continued U.S. intervention in Syria, as Iran and Russia become further entrenched in the battle to bolster Assad and keep him in power. Iran and Russia also announced this weekend new military alliances aimed at bolstering Tehran’s fleet of amphibious airplanes.

While the Trump administration has not ruled out further military intervention in Syria, it remains unclear how willing the White House will be to isolate further Iranian and Russian forces operating together inside Syria. U.S. coalition forces in nearby Iraq also remain vulnerable to reprisal attacks by the thousands of Iranian forces operating in that country alongside local militias.

The joint Russian-Iranian group in Syria hinted that it believes the United States may be behind the chemical attack that prompted military action.

“We believe that the events [chemical weapons use] in [Syria] have been plotted by certain states and bodies to be used as a pretext to attack Syria,” according to the statement, which suggests the United States may have orchestrated the attack in order to justify military intervention.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also condemned the U.S. strike on Sunday, warning the Trump administration about further military action.

“What Americans did was a strategic mistake, and they are repeating the same mistakes done by their predecessors,” Khamenei was quoted as saying during a meeting with senior Iranian armed forces commanders in Tehran.

Khamenei also said that U.S. forces in the region were conspiring with anti-Assad terrorist forces.

“Former U.S. officials created ISIL or helped it, and present officials are reinvigorating ISIL and similar groups,” Khamenei alleged.

Multiple Iranian military officials adopted a similar stance over the weekend and vowed to continue fighting alongside Russia on behalf of Assad in Syria.

A delegation of more than 220 Iranian lawmakers also moved to condemn the U.S. attack over the weekend and demanded an independent investigation into the measures.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a phone conversation Sunday with Assad, vowed to continue Iranian support for the Syrian president.

“The Iranian people are still standing by the Syrian nation,” Rouhani was quoted as telling Assad.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the latest strike by the United States could serve to push Russia and Iran closer in their alliance, which has grown since the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

“In the aftermath of the recent Tomahawk cruise missiles strikes by the U.S., Iranian officials have voiced their condemnation of the U.S. as was expected, but will also seek to capitalize on a recent highly public trip by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Moscow,” Ben Taleblu said.

“While not a formal alliance, the Syrian theater is one area where Russian and Iranian interests overlap,” he explained. “With the expiration of a United Nations mandated arms ban in 2020, we can expect to see this Russo-Iranian relationship deepen significantly. U.S. policymakers would be wise to exploit whatever cleavages exist in the relationship until then.”

US Prepares For North Korea 

US deploys warships to Korean peninsula amid nuclear missiles threats

Pakistan Daily

WASHINGTON – The United States military has ordered a navy strike group comprising an aircraft carrier and other warships to move towards the Korean peninsula as President Trump is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.

US Pacific Command described the deployment of Carl Vinson Strike Group – now heading towards the western Pacific – as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region, the BBC reported.

“The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilising programme of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” US Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham said.

The strike group comprises the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two guided-missile destroyers and a guided-missile cruiser.

As well as massive striking power, the carrier group – headed by Admiral Nora Tyson – has the capability to intercept ballistic missiles.

North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and experts predict more could be in the offing as it moves closer towards developing a nuclear warhead that could reach the US.

On Wednesday, it test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan. That test came a month after four ballistic missiles were fired towards the Sea of Japan, moves that provoked a furious reaction by Japan.

North Korea says it is provoked by military exercises between the US and South Korea, which it sees as preparation for an invasion.