Iranian nuclear weapons closer to reality

Closer to the Korean Showdown Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington TimesNorth Korean nuclear weapons closer to reality

The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
ANALYSIS/OPINION:

North Korea recently test-launched a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

When North Korea eventually builds a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, it will double down on its well-known shakedown of feigning indifference to American deterrence while promising to take out Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle unless massive aid is delivered to Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un rightly assumes that wealthy Western nations would prefer to pay bribe money than suffer the loss of a city — and that they have plenty of cash for such concessions. He is right that the medicine of taking out Mr. Kim’s missiles is considered by Western strategists to be even worse than the disease of living with a lunatic regime that has nukes.

No wonder that the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations had few answers to serial North Korean lying and deceit about its nuclear intentions.

Sanctions were eventually dropped or watered down either on reports of the mass starvation of innocent North Korean civilians or on false promises of better North Korean behavior.

China publicly promised to help reign in its unhinged client while privately doing nothing. Apparently, Beijing found a rabid North Korean government useful in bothering rivals such as the Japanese and South Koreans while keeping the United States off balance in Asia and the Pacific. The dynamic economies and pacifism of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were taken for granted by China as easy targets for coercion and blackmail.

Russia is never any help. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russian foreign policy is reductive: Whatever causes the United States and its allies a major headache is by definition welcomed.

There seems to be zero chance of a North Korean coup or a Chinese intervention to remove Mr. Kim. The brainwashed North Korean population is cut off from global news and knows nothing other than three generations of Kim family dictators. The military junta that surrounds Mr. Kim is likely as aggressive as its leader. These functionaries see his survival as the only guarantee of their own privilege and influence.

A preemptory strike might not get all of North Korea’s nuclear missiles and could prompt a conventional response that would wreck nearby Seoul — a scenario about which North Korean openly brags.

Pyongyang believes that only the Israelis are wild enough to preempt and bomb neighboring nuclear facilities, as they did in 1981 against Iraq and again in 2007 against Syria. And yet Israel attacked only because neither Iraq nor Syria had created deterrence by possession of a single deliverable nuclear weapon.

What are the bad choices for the Western alliance in defanging North Korea before it miscalculates and sends a missile that prompts a war?

Sanctions have in the past crippled Pyongyang. But this time around they should not be lifted despite the prospect of ensuing chaos in North Korea. It may be tragic that a captive population suffers for the lunacy of its leader, but such misery is still preferable to an all-out war.

Nor should China be exempt from accompanying stiff trade restrictions. Almost every weapon component in the hands of North Korea either came directly from China or was purchased by cash earned through Chinese trade and remittances. Certainly, China would not allow South Korea to send missiles its way along with promises of nuking Beijing while the U.S. kept still about the provocation.

Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States need to coordinate a massive missile defense project aimed at ending North Korean assumptions that even one of its missiles has a chance to reach its intended target. Such a Marshall Plan-like investment would also send a message to China that its own nuclear deterrent could be compromised and nullified by the defensive efforts of its immediate neighbors. China has made life difficult for the U.S. and its Asian allies, and it should learn that the allies could make things even more problematic for China.

None of our allies in Asia and the Pacific wish to develop nuclear weapons, both for historic and economic reasons. But the United States should inform Russia and China that allied democracies in the region may choose to develop a nuclear deterrent to stop North Korean antics — a development that would prove disastrous to both Russian and Chinese strategic planning.

Asia is already a dangerous place, with both Indian and Pakistani nuclear missiles and a likely nuclear Iran in the not-so-distant future. Do Moscow and Beijing wish to add three or four more nuclear powers near their borders?

The current danger is not just limited to North Korea. Iran, a beneficiary of North Korean nuclear assistance, is watching how far Mr. Kim can go. It will certainly make the necessary strategic adjustments if he succeeds in shaking down the Western world.

We are nearing an existential showdown, as failed efforts at bribery and appeasement have run their course.

Only a tough, messy confrontation now can prevent a disastrous war later on.

• Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

Did You Feel the Virginia 2011 Earthquake?

Did You Feel the Virginia 2011 Earthquake?

Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

USGS.gov

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2 from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

 

Antichrist Cancels Baghdad Conference

A conference in Baghdad aimed at stabilising Sunni areas of Iraq liberated from ISIL has been postponed because the government wants to celebrate the victory in Mosul.

Named the “Sunni” Conference, the meeting aimed to bring together Iraq’s leading Sunni figures as well as some prominent political figures from the Shiite community.

Abdel Al Malik Husseini, spokesman for the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, confirmed that the conference was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday 15th July.

“However victory celebrations for Mosul are scheduled to take place in Baghdad on Saturday, so we had no other choice but to postpone the conference” he said. “We cannot give a clear date on when the conference will be rescheduled. It’s extremely difficult to say as there are many factors to consider from  re-inviting everyone to ensuring that all sides are availbable on the specified time and day.”

Over 1,000 individuals were invited from a number of ministries to leading political and tribal figures.The conference is one of a series of many, aimed at paving the way for an inclusive alliance to unite Sunni political heads in the post- ISIL period while also strengthening national unity and reconciliation.

The main purpose of the conference was to “discuss future visions for liberated areas within the country” said Saleeem Al Jubouri, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament..

Political heads who had confirmed their attendance this time  included the leader of the Islamic Supreme council Ammar al Hakim and the Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who heads the Sadrist Movement..

Dr Renad Mansour, academy fellow at the  London based think-tank Chatham House stressed that the conference’s main “priority should be to establish an agreement to oversee the post war phase”.

Meanwhile, Charles Tripp, professor of politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, advised that Iraq’s Sunni block would have to “ formulate a common position to put pressure on the Iraqi government to address the question of the thousands of Sunni Arabs who have been interned but not charged, to ensure that the Hashd Al Shaabi militias in particular are kept under control and don’t indulge in acts of revenge in northern Iraq.”

The Hashd Al Shaabi  are a predominantly Shia group of militias, sponsored and funded by the Iraqi state.

“Given the demands the Sunni politicians of Iraq have made over the past year, the will be trying to formulate a common position to put pressure on the Iraqi government, to  have concrete plans in place for the reconstruction of Mosul and other devastated northern towns, to ensure the safety and eventual return of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people and to pursue a much more inclusive policy towards the north and west of Iraq than that pursued by the previous government of Nouri Al Maliki, ” Professor Tripp added.

Iran Continues to Defy the World (Daniel 8:4)

640x392_81016_195499NEWS : NUCLEAR

Published: 11 July 2017
By INU Staff

INU – The Iranian Regime is still attempting to obtain illicit nuclear technology, in direct defiance of the 2015 deal between six world powers and Iran, according to German intelligence agencies.

The Hamburg intelligence agency’s report read: “There is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic policies in 2016… Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.”

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was supposed to stop Iran from continuing development of its nuclear weapons programme for at least a decade in exchange for sanctions relief.

It was signed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China), Germany, and the European Union.

The report also revealed that three German citizens have been charged with violating export bans by sending 51 special valves to Iran. These parts could be used in Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons.

This reactor was supposed to have been shut down as a condition of the nuclear deal but has not been.

Their report documented 49 instances of the Iranian regime engaging in illegal procurement of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities, like cyber warfare, spying, and providing financial and military support for the terrorist group, Hezbollah.

A report from the Baden-Württemberg intelligence agency, read: “Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimise corresponding technology.”

It continued: “[Iran sought] products and scientific know-how for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.

The Iranian Regime had even been used a Chinese front company in order to buy technology that would aid Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, but thankfully they were caught.A report from the Rhineland-Palatinate intelligence agency, said: “[In 2016,] German companies located in Rhineland-Palatinate were contacted for illegal procurement attempts by [Pakistan, North Korea and Iran]. The procurement attempts involved goods that were subject to authorization and approval on account of legal export restrictions and UN embargoes. These goods, for example, could be used for a state’s nuclear and missile programs.”

These reports are consistent with those issued by German intelligence agencies in previous years.In 2015, during the nuclear deal talks, German intelligence agencies found that Iran was evading existing sanctions on obtaining both nuclear and ballistic missile technology. While in 2016, they reported that Iran was actively seeking chemical and biological weapons capabilities in Germany.