Category Archives: Weapons

Why Is Obama Moving Troops Into Poland And Provoking A War With Russia ?

Why Is Obama Moving Troops Into Poland And Provoking A War With Russia Right Before The Inauguration?

January 20th cannot come soon enough.  Instead of stepping back and trying to ensure a smooth transition for Donald Trump, U. S President Barack Obama has decided to go hog wild and use every ounce of presidential power still available to him.  

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He has been establishing a bunch of new national monuments, and on Thursday he even took time to give Joe Biden a Presidential Medal of Freedom.  

But one of the things that has people around the world  the most concerned is his endless provoking of Russia.  Every few days it seems like Obama is doing something else to aggravate Russia, and if he wasn’t leaving office in about a week I am sure that the mainstream media would be full of speculation about a possible war.

Out moving presidents are not supposed to make risky moves like this once a new president has been elected.

On Thursday, we learned that U.S. troops have been permanently deployed to Poland for the very first time

American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.

Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland’s prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.

Poland was once a key member of the Warsaw Pact alliance, and the Russians are quite alarmed that U.S. troops will now be stationed so close to the Russian heartland.  The following comes from ABC News

“These actions threaten our interests, our security,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. “Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It’s not even a European state.”

And it has also been announced that NATO troops will arrive in Lithuania in late January.  If you will remember, Lithuania was actually part of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

All of a sudden, Russia has become enemy number one.  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton say that Russia is to blame for Clinton’s election loss, and so at the end of December Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country.

That is the sort of thing that you do before a war starts.

Over in Europe, they are so freaked out about potential Russian interference in their elections that they are “erecting defenses to counter possible Russian cyber attacks”

Nations in Europe, where Germany and France this year hold elections, are erecting defenses to counter possible Russian cyber attacks and disinformation to sway Western politics, but intelligence experts say this might be too little and too late.

The issue of Russian “influence operations” has taken on new urgency after U.S. intelligence agencies released a non-classified assessment that President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to move the U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump.

European nations and NATO are setting up centers to identify “fake news”, bolstering cyber defenses and tracking use of social media which target Russian-speaking communities, far-right groups, political parties, voters and decision-makers.

Back in 2012, Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for saying that Russia was a serious threat to our national security.  He even joked that the 1980s were calling Romney because they wanted their foreign policy back.

At that time, Barack Obama boldly declared that the Cold War had been over for 20 years.  But now here we are just four years later and Barack Obama has gotten us into a new Cold War.  The crisis in Ukraine, the civil war in Syria, the price of oil, cyber-espionage and a whole host of other issues have brought tensions between the United States and Russia to a boiling point.

Many are hoping that relations with Russia will improve during the Trump administration, but the truth is that things could go either way.

It is important to remember that Trump will be surrounded by military people that are virulently anti-Russia.  For example, retired Marine General James Mattis has been nominated to be Defense Secretary, and this week he told Congress that Russia is the “principal threat” to U.S. security…

While much of the hearing has so far been without controveries, in the most striking moment so far, Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia stands as the “principal threat” to the United States’s security. He said this is because of its actions and efforts to “intimidate” other countries.

Senator John McCain questioned Mattis to get his opinion on how much of a threat Russia represents. Mattis response was that the world order is “under biggest attacks since WW2, from Russia, terrorist groups, and China’s actions in the South China Sea”, agreeing with the neocon senator that Russia is trying to break up NATO.

“I’m all for engagement” with Russia, “but we also have to recognize the reality of what Russia is up to,” Mattis told Senator Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).

There is a great deal of concern that Trump’s view of Russia could be significantly shaped by strong military men such as Mattis.  Both Democrats and Republicans want Trump to become much more anti-Russia, and let us hope that he does not give in to the pressure.

Over in Russia, they view U. S very negatively as well.  A Gallup survey taken in mid-2016 found that current U.S. leadership (the Obama administration) only had a one percent approval rating in Russia.

Yes, you read that correctly.

You can’t get much lower than one percent.

The Russians consider themselves to be the great force for good in the world, and they consider the United States to be the great force for evil.  They openly talk about the possibility of nuclear war on their news broadcasts, and on one recent broadcast people were actually encouraged to locate the closest nuclear bomb shelter to their homes.

And in response to U.S. troops being deployed to Poland, the Russian government has deployed advanced anti-aircraft missile systems around Moscow

Russia has deployed anti-aircraft missile systems around Moscow to protect the capital from attack in the latest sign Vladimir Putin is preparing for war.

The s-400 Triumph air defence system has been providing air cover for Russian forces in Syria since November, and is now being deployed on home soil.

It is capable of hitting moving airborne targets including planes and incoming missiles and has a range of 400km.

We should be very thankful that Barack Obama is leaving office, because right now we are on a path that leads to war between U. S and Russia.

Every one should be hoping that Donald Trump will work to greatly improve relations with the Russians, but all it would take is one wrong move for things to start deteriorating once again.

A new Cold War has begun, and the stakes are incredibly high…

Sources:

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives

http://abcnews.com


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Gun sales on the rise fearing a Clinton win

Gun sales on the rise in fear of a Clinton win

Gun sellers report increasing sales as voters prepare for possibility of president who backs firearms restrictions.

 

New Orleans, Louisiana – In the run-up to the November 8 elections in the US, The Gun Market already noticed an increase in gun sales in some states of America. Some customers are worried if Hillary Clinton will be the 45th US president.

During her campaign, the Democratic candidate has said it is necessary to further regulate gun sales to lower the amount of deaths related to firearms. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, signed an anti-gun law in 1994, banning assault rifles for a period of 10 years – a ban Hillary Clinton has vowed to reinstate.

Although Gun sellers have seen gun sales growing before. After the Sandy Hook massacre, when a 20-year-old man killed 20 children and six staff members at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, using an AR-15 type of semi-automatic rifle was one such instance.

The same day, President Barack Obama gave a speech stating action had to be taken, regardless of politics. That month, the amount of background checks performed by the FBI for gun sales peaked at 2.7 million, compared with 1.5 million the same month the year before.

When someone buys a gun, the seller is obliged to perform a background check with the FBI to make sure the buyer has no criminal record. These serve as a reliable indicator of the trends in gun sales, although they do not translate directly into gun sales.

In the following days, Markets completely sold out of AR-15s. Shopkeepers could not even order them any more from a manufacturer. As people feared a ban on these assault rifles, similar to the 10-year ban Bill Clinton signed, people came to the shop to try to buy them before they would disappear from the shelves.

If Hillary Clinton were to win,  a ban on assault rifles just does not make sense. Because many pro-gun Americans thinks the name “assault rifle” should not be applied to these kind of rifles, because it gives them a bad name.

A Gun Pro says “We don’t even take an AR-15 for deer hunting, for it will only hurt the animal instead of killing it, “School goers can shot in amateur hunting . It’s fun to shoot; it’s just a sporting rifle. It’s not the big bad weapon they say it is.”

But a seller says “panic buying” on the scale has not been seen in anticipation of political changes before like it happened this year.

Driven by fear of new amendments

Qualls and Schmitt show different kinds of rifles
Qualls and Schmitt show different kinds of rifles

Over this past annual quarter, from July to September 2016, the FBI recorded the most background checks for this quarterly period since it started to keep track of these checks in 1999. Both Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger, two major US firearms manufacturers, reported unprecedented sales for this period.

In a gun store in Alabama, co-owner Tracy Schmitt, who is originally from New York state, says people worry about an “oppressive government”. Gun ownership is the only way to keep the power in the hands of the people, he says.

With Hillary Clinton succeeding a Democratic president in office, Schmitt believes there is a possibility gun control laws will be implemented quickly.

“Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton work together,” Schmitt says, referring to the current president’s endorsement of Clinton. “So even considering she would only be inaugurated in January, it is possible Obama would pass an executive order, which makes it impossible for people to buy arms before Clinton gets to the White House.”

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

Fear of laws to regulate this Amendment, say sales people, has led to people stocking up on equipment.

When he was back in New York state, Schmitt experienced the increases in sales from previous administrative actions. Now, Schmitt says, many of his customers have been stocking up on ammunition in the past few weeks and coming by to get old guns fixed and oiled.

“Barack Obama has been a great firearms salesman,” he laughs, referring to the peaks in sales of 2012 – the year of the Sandy Hook shooing and Obama’s re-election. “But Bill Clinton was the number-one salesman before.”

Schmitt and his co-owner, Darrell Qualls, say the vagueness of future gun regulations is what worries people. Hillary Clinton says she supports reasonable gun control and pledges to get military-style weapons off the streets. But according to Qualls, it is unclear which firearms would be considered military weapons once new regulations come into place.

Qualls shows an old rifle that was used by the Spanish during the civil war in the 1930s; then he shows a sniper rifle. “Most firearms were originally designed for the military,” he says. “Which one of these two

will be prohibited?”

Disarming America?

Not everybody in the United States believes the AR-15 rifles are as light a weapon as some Gun Pros portrays them to be.

Such a rifle can be easily modified to hold up to 100 bullets, which can be shot as quickly as the shooter can pull the trigger.

The same accounts for similar rifles, such as the Sig Sauer MCX, which was used in the recent shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida – in an audio recording of this shooting 24 shots are heard in nine seconds.

During her campaign, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly mentioned 33,000 as the average number of gun-related deaths per year in the United States. This number can be seen as misleading, though, as it includes suicides, which account for more or less two thirds of the deaths.

Still, the US has a gun-related homicide rate of 3.43 per 100,000 people per year, which puts the per capita homicide rate between countries such as Peru and Montenegro, but still a fraction of the gun homicide rates of countries such as Venezuela or Honduras.

The countries with the lowest per capita homicide rate – zero – are Iceland and Japan. The countries on both extremes, Iceland and Japan in comparison to Venezuela and Honduras, all require a licence for gun ownership and registered gun owners.

At a recent gun show in Robertsdale, Alabama, two men in their 60s walked around with rifles slung over their shoulders. These men, called John and Sam, came to find potential buyers for their rifles. Walking past tables full of handguns, semi-automatic and army-paraphernalia, they talked to prospective customers.

Someone offered $250 for the .22 calibre Magnum rifle Sam carried. He was hoping to find a better offer, so they exchanged phone numbers and agreed to call later that day in case he did not find this.

Official weapon dealers are obliged to perform an online background check of their clients with the FBI, which is done on the spot.

However, private persons can sell guns without performing such checks, as long as they are not aware of the buyer having a criminal history. Bill Clinton called this the “gun show loophole”, which he as well as the two following presidents, George W Bush and Obama, tried to close, and Hillary Clinton has pledged to close.

Linda Clifton, who runs a gun shop in rural Alabama with her husband, a retired military officer, believes carrying a gun has become necessary with crime rates going up in the countryside. They organise classes for costumers to learn how to use guns for self-defence.

She proudly explains how one of her costumers, a young mother, managed to chase away three young men who were following her in a parking lot of a local Walmart supermarket.

Linda Clifton shows handbags with a concealed carry pocket
Linda Clifton shows handbags with a concealed carry pocket

“I’m sure Clinton will try to do something. But the more she runs off with her mouth, the more people are gonna purchase guns,” Clifton says. “But mostly what she says is just election talk; trying to win votes. Besides, before we would ever give up our guns, we would have a civil war in this country. They would not want that.”

It is a recurring remark in gun shops and by gun owners as well as sellers at gun shows in Alabama and Mississippi: whoever touches the Second Amendment risks gearing the country towards civil unrest.

Sam and John at the gun show have stocked up on ammunition, to be prepared if this would end up in civil war, they say.

During the same gun show, a man selling bulletproof vests, who does not want to be named, says many Americans are fed up with the way the country evolves.  “If Hillary Clinton gets elected, I advise foreigners not to come to this country,” he warns. “All hell will break lose.”

Banning a certain type of firearm is one thing, but would the local law enforcement strictly enforce new laws?

Officer Don Hopkins is an investigator and police spokesman in the little town of Waynesboro, Mississippi. Though he does not believe the Second Amendment would ever be changed, he would not want be the one to go to people’s houses and take assault rifles from them if gun ownership were to be banned in the US.

“It’s simply not gonna happen,” he says in his office at the police station.

“If you disarm honest people, all you gonna have is armed dishonest people. If you ask around, over 90 percent of law enforcement will rather see their citizens armed.

Hence in some states people are in relaxed mode ”

“You see, we don’t believe Hillary Clinton could win, so no one was really panicking.”

sources:

http://www.aljazeera.com

www.truthdig.com

 

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A crooked Election

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Leaked Emails predicted Trump’s rise

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Western firms primed to cash in on Syria’s Oil and Gas ‘Frontier’

Once Syria conflict resolved, prospects for Syrian offshore production  are high.

US, British, French, Israeli and other energy interests could be prime beneficiaries of military operations in Iraq and Syria designed to rollback the power of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) and, potentially, the Bashar al-Assad regime.

A study for a global oil services company backed by the French government and linked to Britain’s Tory-led administration, published during the height of the Arab Spring, hailed the significant “hydrocarbon potential” of Syria’s offshore resources.

The 2011 study was printed in GeoArabia, a petroleum industry journal published by a Bahrain-based consultancy, GulfPetroLink, which is sponsored by some of the world’s biggest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Total, and BP.

Geo Arabia’s content has no open subscription system and is exclusively distributed to transnational energy corporations, corporate sponsors and related organisations, as well as some universities.

Authored by Steven A. Bowman, a Senior Geo scientist for the French energy company CGG Veritas, the study identified “three sedimentary basins, Levantine, Cyprus, and Latakia, located in offshore Syria” and highlighted “significant evidence for a working petroleum system in offshore Syria with numerous onshore oil and gas shows, DHIs (direct hydrocarbon indicators) observed on seismic, and oil seeps identified from satellite imagery.”

Read Full Extensive Report at Insurge Intelligence

 INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, is a crowd-funded investigative journalism project

Excerpts from an article by Nafeez Ahmed, the journalist 

Frances secret affair with Assads Syria

At the time, when civil unrest was sweeping across Syria, CGGVeritas was contracted to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Sources.

The French company is one of the world’s largest seismic surveyors. Backed by the French government which owns 18% voting rights in the firm, CGGVeritas had acquired seismic data on offshore Syrian resources in 2005, and since then has been the main point of contact for geophysical and geological datasets on behalf of the Syrian regime.

In 2011, the French firm had an exclusive contract with the Syrian government to provide technical support for that year’s Syrian International Offshore Bid Round for firms to explore, develop and produce oil and gas from three offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea by the Syrian coast.

Exploration activity has increased in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent years following a series of major multi-TCF (trillion cubic feet) gas discoveries made in the offshore southern Levantine Basin,” wrote Bowman. “Licensing rounds are scheduled to be announced during 2011 for areas in offshore Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus, which are believed to share strong geological similarities with these discoveries.”

Describing offshore Syria as “a truly frontier area of exploration”, Bowman — who was also involved in CGGVeritas evaluations of seismic datasets of energy resources in Libya — noted the discovery of several “flat-spots” which, if real, “will represent billion-barrel/multi-TCF [trillion cubic feet] drilling targets given the scale and volumetrics of the structures within which they occur.”

Western Energy majors court Assad

CGG Veritas was also licenced by the British government for the North Sea, where for the last several years Bowman has held responsibility for identifying prospectivity and coordinating licencing round activities.

In 2012, the US Department of the Interior published a US Geological Survey Minerals Yearbook, which observed that Assads government-owned Syrian Petroleum Co.:

“… cooperated with several international oil companies, such as Chinese National Petroleum Co. (CNPC), Gulfsands Petroleum of the United Kingdom, Oil and Natural Gas Resources Corp. of India, Royal Dutch Shell plc. of the United Kingdom, and Total SA of France through subsidiary companies.”

Two years earlier, the Syrian capital, Damascus, was host to the 7th Syrian International Oil & Gas Exhibition, convened by Assad’s Ministry of Petroleum. The exhibition was sponsored by CNPC, Shell, and the French major Total, and was attended by over a hundred representatives of international firms, 40% of whom were based in Europe.

A 2010 draft document produced on behalf of the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum by the exhibition organiser, Allied Expo, described how British company Shell was planning to work closely with the Assad regime to develop Syria’s gas production:

Shell will devise a master plan for the development of the gas sector in Syria, following an agreement signed with the Ministry of Petroleum,” say the presentation slides, created in October 2010 to promote plans for a new oil and gas exhibition in 2012. “The agreement includes an assessment of the overall undiscovered gas potential in Syria, potential for upstream gas production, need for gas transmission and distribution networks…

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Throughout 2010, Shell officials held numerous meetings with British government ministers. In July, Shell met David Cameron to discuss “business issues”, Foreign Office minister David Howell to discuss “international energy matters”, and Charles Hendry, minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

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Such meetings with multiple government departments and often dozens of senior officials continued for every month through to the end of the following year, except June 2010. These included meetings with the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor Peter Ricketts; business secretary Vince Cable, various DECC ministers to discuss “energy issues” related to Qatar, along with several sessions with Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Declassified British government memos show that in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, oil firms BP and Shell held several meetings with senior government officials to guarantee a role of British energy companies in post-conflict Iraq.

While publicly the government decried criticisms of an oil motive for British involvement in the war as “the oil conspiracy theory”, one memo of a meeting between then Trade Minister Baroness Symons and UK oil firms revealed that in private, they believed “it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

After the 2011 protests, even when Assad was brutalising demonstrators in the streets, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ruled out military intervention and insisted that the Syrian dictator was a “reformer” — which he took as a green light to escalate his crackdown.

As the cycle of violence intensified, Western governments disassociated from Assad when it became clear his rule had become completely unstable. With the outbreak of civil war, the plans of Shell and other oil majors to open up Syria’s offshore resources were unexpectedly suspended.

Military action to protect Mediterranean oil and gas

The sudden crisis in Syria threw a spanner in the works for longstanding efforts to explore and open up lucrative energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A report published in December 2014 by the US Army’s Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) provides compelling evidence that American, British and Gulf defence strategists see the Mediterranean as an opportunity to wean Europe off dependence on Russian gas, and boost Israel’s energy independence.

As part of this process, the report revealed, military action is viewed as potentially necessary to secure Syria’s untapped offshore gas resources, which overlap with the territorial waters of other Mediterranean powers, including Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.

The report by Mohammed El-Katiri, an advisor to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence and formerly a research director at the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Advanced Research and Assessment Group (ARAG), explicitly acknowledges that a post-conflict Syria would open up new prospects for energy exploration.

Once the Syria conflict is resolved, prospects for Syrian offshore production — provided commercial resources are found — are high,” wrote El-Katiri. Potential oil and gas resources can be developed “relatively smoothly once the political situation allows for any new exploration efforts in its offshore territories.”

The US Army SSI report noted that Syria’s offshore resources are part of a wider matrix of oil and gas deposits in the Levant basin encompassing the offshore territories of these competing states.

The region is estimated to hold approximately 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which could be just a third of the basin’s total hydrocarbons.

US-led military intervention has a key role to play, the report concludes, in “managing” conflicts and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially the prospect of “Syria destabilising into de facto civil

war.”

US diplomatic and military support has a pivotal role to play in the East Mediterranean’s complex geopolitical landscape, and its importance will only grow as the value of the natural resources at stake increases,” the Army SSI report said:

US security and military support for its main allies in the case of an eruption of natural resource conflict in the East Mediterranean may prove essential in managing possible future conflict.”

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India-Pak War?

What if India-Pak Nuke Each Other

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Amidst growing tensions between India and Pakistan, of late, citizens from both sides of the Line of Control can be observed taking pride of their respective nuclear arsenal on social media platforms.

With little to zero knowledge, commoners can be easily spotted bragging about the nuclear might of their country on the internet. Also, they mindlessly go ahead in judging which country will even win a nuclear war through their posts, comments and tweets.

So, dear readers (on both sides of the fence), do you have any clue of what will happen if your casual talk on nuclear war becomes a reality?

Of course, you don’t have to drop a bomb to calculate this. Alex Wellerstein, a Harvard-educated historian, who specializes on the history of nuclear weapons and government secrecy has a nuclear effects simulator on their website.

The simulator uses the integration of Google Maps and data points collected from thousands of nuclear detonations that have taken place from 1939. The list also includes India’s largest Nuclear weapon tested which was a 65 kilo-tons bomb and Pakistan’s largest weapons tested at 45 kilotons.

These nuclear weapons are twice the size of ‘Fat Man’, the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki during World War 2.

What will happen if India detonates its 65 Kiloton nuclear bomb in Karachi?

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The simulator calculates, that if the ground zero is Sarafa Bazar in Karachi, the estimated fatalities will be in excess of 6,41,620 people. The estimated figures of people injured will be 15,96,830. Though the simulator says that modelling casualties from a nuclear attack is difficult and these numbers should be seen as evocative, not definitive.

The model also calculates the humanitarian impact of a nuclear blast. The “humanitarian impact” model works by using the Google Places API to search out tagged places near the ground zero location. This is the same algorithm Google Maps uses, whenever you ask how many restaurants are near where you happen to be.

The point of the “humanitarian impact” model is to emphasise some of the collateral impacts of a nuclear explosion, and, to indicate the ways in which support services like hospitals and fire stations would be themselves impacted by a nuclear attack.

With all these variables in place, 12,00,000 (12 lakh) lives lost is still too big if India and Pakistan go nuclear on each other.

What if Pakistan nukes New Delhi?

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Similarly, if Pakistan hits New Delhi with its 45 Kiloton nuclear bomb the impact is even more disastrous as portrayed by the simulator.

6,56,070 people will lose their lives if a Pakistani nuke is detonated at Connaught Palace. There will be more than 15,28,490 people who will be injured in this attack. Places like, Jama Masjid, Purana Qila, Parliament house and even Rashtrapati Bhavan will be wiped out.

The simulator also calculates the maximum size of the nuclear fireball after detonation along with radiation radius, air blast radius and thermal radiation radius that cause 3rd-degree burns.

The implications are catastrophic if a nuclear bomb is detonated on either side. So, next time you casually talk about whether India should nuke Pakistan, or vice-versa, just head to this website and you’ll be horrified by its implications.

You can also calculate the effects of the blast in your own city on this website. Till now, more than 85.6 million people have detonated a nuclear bomb on this simulator. This is probably the safest and an educative way of detonating a nuclear bomb.

nuke

 Alex Wellerstein the creator of this simulator is an assistant professor of science and technology studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. He runs Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog and is the creator of the NUKEMAP nuclear effects simulator

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ISIS And Battle for Mosul

Battle of Mosul

Iraq’s announcement of the start of the offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS is a pivotal moment in defeating ISIS, which has made the city its de facto capital in Iraq since seizing it in mid-2014.

The Iraqi offensive on Mosul is the culmination of a two-year Iraqi military campaign to remove the ISIS military threat from northern Iraq.

Much of the U.S. military presence in Iraq during the last two years has been geared toward training and advising Iraq’s security forces to defeat ISIS militarily and take back the cities controlled by the group, particularly Mosul. So far, 35,000 Iraqi troops have been trained by the U.S.-led coalition.

At the other hand ISIS fighters in Mosul have built berms and trenches along the major roadways into the city and placed bombs along roads, on bridges and inside buildings. Giant pits of tire and oil have been readied to create giant dark clouds that would make it difficult for coalition aircraft to conduct airstrikes in the city.

It promises to be not only Iraqi Army’s largest operation but also its toughest test as ISIS fighters have had more than two years to prepare elaborate defenses inside Iraq’s second largest city known as Mosul.

Mosul the City

Located along the banks of the Tigris River in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, Mosul is Iraq’s second-largest city, normally with more than 2 million residents.

The population consists of a mix of the diverse ethnic groups in northern Iraq; the majority are Sunni Arabs and Kurds. It is believed that 1 million residents remain in the city.

Mosul is the main industrial city in northern Iraq and a vital transportation hub in the flow of goods to and from Turkey and Syria. It is near significant oilfields in northern Iraq and a major oil pipeline into Turkey.

While mainstream media have thus far focused on the significance of Iraqi forces liberating the town.

Absent from international headlines, however, is what Mosul’s liberation means to those who call it home and to fellow Iraqis across the nation. How was Mosul viewed by Iraqis before the occupation of ISIS, and how will it be viewed after it is liberated?

Traditionally, Mosul has  been viewed as one of the three pillars of Iraq, alongside the cities of Baghdad and Basra, dating back to Iraq’s administrative layout under the Ottoman Empire. The three cities were the capitals of the three Ottoman provinces bearing the same name.

While the three provinces enjoyed local governance, the city of Baghdad retained administrative powers over all three provinces for the majority of the empire’s existence.

Owing to Mosul’s historical ties to Baghdad and Basra, the League of Nations decided – at the time – that the Mosul province would be administered by Iraq rather than Turkey, during the establishment of the modern-day Iraqi state.

This enabled the seamless establishment of Baghdad as the Iraqi capital, and retained Mosul and Basra as the country’s other influential economic hubs.

While Mosul is home to a vast number of ethnicities and sects, its wealth of unique surrounding villages, all bustling with Iraq’s Kurds, Yazidis, Shabak, Christian Assyrians and Armenians, led to Mosul’s unique cultural mix and diversity.

Despite Mosul’s location up north, what connected Maslawis (residents of Mosul) to the rest of Iraq was their significant class of educated citizens and highly regarded institutions. In general, Mosuls were well-educated and respected by the rest of Iraq.

Many Iraqis would go to the city to attend its prestigious University of Mosul, whose medical college dates back to the early establishment of the Iraqi state. If educated Iraqis were not going to Mosul to study, the educated people of Mosul were coming to the rest of Iraq to teach, as their presence was evident in schools and universities across the country. For many Iraqis, this is what Mosul means to them.

Mosul also represents the city that provided Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime with a large number of military and security personnel.

Unlike Baghdad and Basra, Mosul did not fight the US-led war in 2003. Instead, regime loyalists and the military simply integrated into the civilian population. This has meant that a large concentration of ex-regime loyalists were based in Mosul, which was evident when Hussein’s sons were caught hiding in Mosul in 2003.

At the time, many of those elements morphed into extremist groups such ISIL and carried out attacks to undermine the new political order. This saw the city quickly became a no-go zone for many in Iraq who were afraid of lawlessness and the free reign of armed groups in the city.

Hence, when Mosul fell to ISIS in 2014, many in Iraq were not as surprised.

Why Is It Important to Retake Mosul?

ISIS’ seizure of Mosul was a blow to Iraq’s political stability and a propaganda coup for the group, which wanted to demonstrate it was gaining territory to establish a great caliphate  nation.

A successful offensive on Mosul would take from ISIS its last strategic stronghold in Iraq and end the territorial dominance it commanded over large areas of north-western Iraq for the past two years.

The group’s control of territory there was made easier by the flow of ISIS fighters from its de facto capital of Raqqa in north-central Syria. An ISIS defeat in Mosul would cut off that route and leave the group’s military operations effectively contained to Syria.

The Plan

American military officials have informed that the city would be enveloped from the north and south by Iraqi army. Enveloping the city might take some time, Once that is completed, an elite Iraqi special operations force known as the Counter-Terrorism Service will push into the center of the city to drive out ISIS.

it is believed that around a toatal of 800,000 civilians could flee the city. As part of its planning, the Iraqi government has worked with the United Nations and international relief organizations in building 20 camps to take care of them.

Can Mosul overcome the horrible reign of ISIS and rise again as an Iraqi centre of education and culture.

The question going forward is:

Will Mosul remain a pillar of Iraqi identity or will the legacy of ISIS’s occupation result in trust lost between Mosul’s and the rest of Iraqis?

When this question was posed to a former Iraqi general and resident of the city, with relatives still living there, he said: “Mosul can remain the Mosul of old, the Mosul of officers, teachers and professors only if Mosuls want that to happen.”

Evidence of this is witnessed by the recent liberated Christian-Assyrian villages of Bartella and Qara Qosh, just outside Mosul, by the ISF. There is a newly built trust between the locals and the ISF that will be vital for the future of Iraq, if this trust is replicated in the liberation of Mosul.

Ultimately it will be the actions and reactions of Mosul’s citizens during and after military operations that will decide what the new Mosul will be known for. If they are able to overcome the horrible psychological and social trauma of ISIS’s reign, then Mosul can once again rise as an Iraqi center of education, culture and professionals.

sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/

http://www.aljazeera.com/

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