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Syria Air Strikes – Are Bombs the Way…

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I would like to begin with mention and introduction to the most important factors surrounding the complicated topic of Air Bombing Campaigns. It seems that too often the way is always The Bombing way – Bombs away, bombs away, bombs away!

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Air Strikes

The Governments across the World have been doing this for too long; when will this mad and crazy envisaged and implemented notion stop where so many innocent civilians die and often lives are destroyed for many years if not completely. I can write about this with confidence as I have spoken to people who wish to remain anonymous who have lived in fear of bombs and have had to rebuild homes as well as see family members and friends die from the carnage caused by air strikes.

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Terrorism

Air Strikes have not stopped Terrorism instead fueled it, and it was argued by many that it is an effective approach in combating Terrorism, an argument which now holds less strength, in a World where we’ve seen more Terrorism since 9/11.

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Nuclear weapons / Chemical Attacks

Instead Governments should say away with bombs, away with Nuclear weapons, however I would like to focus for now on how The World should say no to these horrific air bombing campaigns.

The war in Syria is the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago. Especially with Assad’s use of chemical gas/weapons and most recently with a chemical chlorine attack.

Human Rights

England and many other Western and non-Western countries talk of human rights and being countries integral to Religion with Peace and Harmony at its centrality. Surely causing destruction in other countries caused by these campaigns are far from Peaceful and with ones’ Human Rights on point.

There needs to be some perspective in these situations and the public have shown there concern on many occasions with protests too. Many people signed the petitions to stop the action of bombing in Syria. Which has also been a catalyst to more refugees fleeing the country.

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Public Awareness/Division

The UK public seemed divided on Bombing on Syria as were the MP’s who voted whether to launch air strikes in Syria; significantly this division was seen in the BR-EXIT where those wanting to remain in the EU were closely matched to the numbers to exit, whose main rhetoric was about the influx of immigrants many of whom would obviously be refugees to the UK fleeing Syria. Anti-war demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street and other locations across the UK to make their voice heard, after so many setbacks from the previous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq surely many felt that this war in Syria would have the same outcome.

The UK government’s case is built on the argument that bombing would disrupt the ability of Isis to organize attacks in Europe, while containing the extremist group by denying it territory and access to finance, primarily through oil exports.

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Russian Controversy

Russia has been poor in setting an example, by going all out and bombing everywhere across Syria. The UK and US did not waste much time in bombing Syria either and they were quick to push ahead with their campaigns. President Assad is still in charge in Syria and his cruel regime is still using chemical weapons on the innocent civilians. With President Assad still in power the US and the UK will have seen this as a failure although they may say it is still too soon to title this war as such.

Russia’s President Putin has been backing Assad to stay as President and this has become a confusing combination in the war in Syria with air strikes happening from every direction, targeting US and Turkish fighters as well as anyone seen to oppose the regime currently in place with Bashr Al Assad at the top; the civilians on the ground would obviously find it difficult to differentiate between US, UK, French and Russian planes, and as a result are living with death all around them whilst trying to survive being bombed on a regular basis.

Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, mosques and a busy markets, as well as medical facilities, in a pattern of attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law, says ‘Amnesty International’.

“The number of civilian casualties from Russian bombardment is far higher than the number caused by American and French airstrikes,” said Wael Aleji, spokesman for the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

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Destruction

There needs to be a leading nation for promoting Peace and instead of engaging in War there has to be further interest in investing against Terrorism. The UK has been bombed in the bygone past when Germany used aerial bombing strikes.

It seems as if those memories need to be related to now, even more so now. How can the insensitivity of bombs which nowadays with all the modern technology available are even more dangerous not be banned all together.

Power in the missiles launched cause mass damage and have huge radius, despite claims that they are precision based strikes there are many innocent civilian casualties in every strike. The destruction happening is reminiscent of the past whether it be Pearl Harbour, Germany bombing the UK, or Iraq and Afghanistan and other middle east countries like Iran and Lebanon.

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Financial Interests

Behind this facade of helping the innocent civilians through bombing campaigns there is the sinister situation where the rich nations are profiting from the sales in modern weaponry and aerial bombs, the arms industry is worth billions and the Governments around the World benefit from this lucrative business trading and buying and selling; once the destructive damage has been done by dropping bombs, the Governments award contracts to rebuild, the UK and US did this in Iraq making money from contracts given to corporations within the UK and US who are often donors to Governments in Power.

The economies of the countries conducting the rebuilding on such a mass scale has a rewarding effect on their economy.

New airports are re-built, buildings, military bases, etc all bring in business; not to mention oil from these countries exported at extortionate prices. These war torn countries economies suffer as a result of this exploitation and this effects its citizens directly.

The Guardian News titled one of their articles in 2013 : “Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern.” The article went on to say that “Massacres of civilians are being exploited for narrow geopolitical competition to control Mideast oil, gas pipelines.” It also mentioned the reliance on Middle East oil :

“The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized… For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources… The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”

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Syria’s People – Refugee Crisis

Moving away from financial aspects, I would like to focus on the people aspect however; a recent statistic from Syria provided by Mercy Corps is :

“Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.”

And the UN says millions of Syrians need our help, According to the U.N., it will take £5 billion to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in 2016. The U.N. estimates that 6.6 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, well over half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders.

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Conflict and Children

Mercy Corps also says of the conflict and bombing that:

“More than five years after it began, the full-blown civil war has killed over 250,000 people, half of whom are believed to be civilians. Bombings are destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations are widespread. In October 2015, Russia began launching airstrikes at ISIS targets in Syria. The bombings have continued, so far killing at least 2,000 civilians and forcing even more Syrians to flee for safety.”

Syrians are now the largest refugee population in the world. Almost 5 million Syrians have registered or are awaiting registration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is leading the regional emergency response. According to the UN, more than half of all Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. Most have been out of school for months, if not years.

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Twitter Controversy

Anti-Isis activist group ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ warned on Twitter that airstrikes which kill civilians undermine the fight against Isis and they said of the bombings – “Congratulations to the Coalition u have a new 160 #ISIS new fighters who will join the fight against u after u kill 160 civilian ##Manbij”

Population decline

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution (2011), there have been more than 115 thousand civilian casualties and 5 percent of all deaths in Syria are caused by terrorist attacks. Due to the high number of casualties, millions of people have fled Syria and in 2014, Syria had one of the the highest population decline rates in the world.

Al-Tukhar & Manbij strikes

Most recently was the bombing of Al-Tukhar and Manbij which has resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria.

“There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

Terrorist Trouble

Bombing hinders the innocent Syrian civilians and at publishing the bombing still continues; Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said of the bombings that “In Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Mosul, Isis is living almost totally among civilians, so you can’t hit them.”

He pointed out that thousands of foreign jihadi had managed to travel to and from Syria for the past few years through Turkey and questioned the wisdom of now trying to stop militants with bombs when they could have been stopped with tighter border controls. The Paris conspirators, including the presumed ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, were able to travel between Belgium, France and Syria while the US-led airstrikes targeting Isis command and control were in full swing.

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Legality & War Crimes

The legality of the War in Syria has also been questioned after the world has witnessed foreign intervention, as to who wanted President Assad removed and whether the international bombings in Syria have contributed to human rights violations.

“Some Russian air strikes appear to have directly attacked civilians or civilian objects by striking residential areas with no evident military target and even medical facilities, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians. Such attacks may amount to war crimes,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

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Syria’s Economy after Foreign Intervention

“The medium-term macroeconomic prospects hinge on containing the war and finding a political resolution to the conflict, and rebuilding the damaged infrastructure and social capital. Violence continues to disrupt the production and distribution of goods and services, and impedes economic activity. Barring a cessation of the conflict, the country’s human and physical capital stock is expected to continue to shrink.” (worldbank.org)

The conflict has significantly damaged the country’s public and private assets including health, education, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, transportation, housing and other infrastructure. The Syria Center for Policy Research estimated that, for the whole country, the destruction of physical infrastructure amounted to $75 billion. The UN estimated that it would need an investment of $180 billion to bring Syrian GDP back to pre-conflict levels.

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Conclusion

After having spoken to a Syrian gentlemen who lived 19 years in Syria and then moved to the UK; he told me he was upset and saddened to see what was happening in Syria he said that the political complexities are so vast that everyone seems confused about the situation, and the foreign intervention has not helped anything; “I am angered by the amount of civilians dying in Foreign Air Strikes, this war is about more than Assad, if the West wanted him out it would have happened by now. Instead he still lives in the comfort of Syria and is still using chemical weapons.”

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I would like to conclude with a part of the conversation which really summed up my concern for Syrians being bombed in these horrific air strikes;

“You don’t think about these air strikes till it happens to you or your family or friends, before you accept these bombings from all sides you should really think about the devastation, what if this happened to you, that’s when you really feel it, before it happens to you give some thought to those being bombed and try and make a difference, stand up for the Syrians.”

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Fracking a Catalyst to Earthquakes…

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This article ‘Fracking a ‘Catalyst to Earthquakes’ looks at the link between fracking and earthquakes:

I also have an article which looks at the basics of Fracking and tells you more about what Fracking is and how its done.
T
he other article is titled ‘Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet poll shows Fracking not in Favour!’ (in the link below):

Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

Fracking a Catalyst to Earthquakes

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Fracking is a catalyst to Earthquakes and this is evident in a rise in seismic activity in places like USA’s – Oklahoma where earthquakes have been occurring on a much larger scale; than before Fracking had begun for oil and gas, so much so that Oklahoma now sees more Earthquakes than anywhere else in the world. The most recent happening on the 30 December 2015 with a magnitude of 4.3, followed the next five days by aftershock/tremors with a further threat of more to follow. As a result 4,400 residents were left with no electricity and caused damage to the properties.

The United States Geological Survey says that more Earthquakes are to be expected as a major fault may have been re-activated by the Earthquake and that as a result this may result in further 4.0 and more magnitude earthquakes.

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Oklahoma went from two earthquakes a year before 2009 to two a day. This year, roughly 700 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or higher has shook the state, compared to 20 in 2009.

In August 2015, Oklahoma Governor – Mary Fallin admitted there was a “direct correlation between the increase of earthquakes that we’ve seen in Oklahoma [and] disposal wells.”

The latest 2015 figures for Oklahoma, show that fracking has become common, state authorities issued a report saying that the state has experienced 585  (magnitude 3+) earthquakes in 2014 compared to 109 events recorded in 2013. Oklahoma has more earthquakes in 2015 than all of continental U.S. combined. Earthquakes are hitting in swarms, and it has been reported in America that in Oklahoma no one apart from concerned residents is taking this seriously.

The disposal wells are a particular problem as the waste fluids pumped underground seems to be causing the ground to form faults and displace the stable earth to an unstable state leading to these Earthquakes.

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Honn Kao, a research scientist with Geological Survey of Canada said of this pumping of fluid, “In theory, a bigger injection of fracking fluid can certainly trigger a bigger quake.”

At the moment there is not much concern about the Earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or under it is only when it reaches 3.5 magnitude that regulators have suggested shutting down the fracking operations and re-locating to a new location. There should be some serious concern for these smaller magnitude quakes too.

A lady from Oklahoma said of the multiple Earthquakes – “I live in Medford and my husband is a handy-man and we can tell you that these little quakes do cause damage. Doorways are askew, cracks are appearing and growing, and parts of houses are sinking!” she also said “The Oklahoma Corporate Commission refuses to fine these wells that are injecting too much waste fluid too deep.”  Frustrated by the media she says that “they are not even reporting all of the quakes we’ve felt.”

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In the UK test drilling for Shale gas, twice caused magnitude 2.0 earthquakes, and this in the testing stage in Lancashire, after two earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the area a subsequent study found it was “highly probable” that shale gas test drilling triggered the tremors.

The UK government-appointed panel said there could be more tremors as a result of fracking, but they will be too small to do structural damage above ground. This is what was said in Oklahoma and they are reporting currently Earthquakes at 4.3 magnitude.

Does the UK not need to take all this into consideration rather than speeding up the process as they are currently doing. In most recent Earthquake News Ohio has been linked to Fracking where a new study links nearly 80 earthquakes ranging between 1.0 magnitude to 3.0 magnitude that occurred in Ohio’s Mahoning County in March 2014 to nearby fracking operations.

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The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission released a report in August 2015 stating that a  4.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked northeast British Columbia in August was caused by fracking and may be the largest earthquake on record to be attributed to the controversial energy extraction process.

These human related earthquakes are human made with the number of earthquakes rising in many areas, with this in mind should Fracking continue in the US, UK, or anywhere in the World?

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The National Parks are under threat to with David Cameron confirming that the UK is to go “all out” for shale gas. The Parks could be in danger from Earthquakes too, yet the plans to do this fracking under national parks has already been approved.

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Many residents from all around the country have opposed fracking by protesting in places like Chester, Balcombe, Greater Manchester and Blackpool and Fylde Coast. Yet the government seem to be pushing for fracking.

In an insight from former Environment Agency chairman Chris Smith, The UK is going into reverse on renewable energy while trying to hasten the beginning of the fracking process. The emphasis should be on working on developing green energy and not putting the UK/US/EU/World land at risk of earthquakes. Asia will be watching with keen eyes as to what kind of approach the richer nations take on this risky road of Fracking before making a stake for their own Fracking Revolution or Fracking Revolt, as for the Indian strategy they seem to be moving cautiously a smart approach and small scale explorations/operations are occurring.

 

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In conclusion:

We are learning more every day about this linking of Fracking to Earthquakes and it is becoming more evident by the day.  

Renewable energy is the future that needs to be worked further towards and invested in much more, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 2015 the world agreed to officially work towards a greener future and work to keep global warming down, fracking for shale gas is injurious to the planets Earth if it triggers quakes especially a large one. 

And these quakes are a first of their kind they are Human made; is Human kind really sizing up Seismic activity and are they ready to take on the consequences and why are countries not exploring green energy alternatives to the dangers of Fracking as outlined in this article and its link to earthquakes.

 

On an interesting note:
Did you know many animals may be able to sense Earthquakes days before they happen, there is ongoing scientific studies, mainly in Asia with animals like dogs, snakes, bees, as Scientists try to understand how prior to an earthquake animals can go into hiding like when this happened in Peru in 2011 when  magnitude 7.0 struck.

 

I also have an article which looks at the basics of Fracking and tells you more about what Fracking is and how its done.
T
he other article is titled ‘Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet poll shows Fracking not in Favour!(in the link below):
Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

Try tried and Trident again!?!

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election 2015

So here’s the run down on Trident (four submarines armed with missiles and warheads) and the outline to what the news and concerns are about Trident:

Conservatives pledge to upgrade Trident as do some other parties, good, bad, or unsure?

Whilst Shadow Labour Welsh Secretary Mr Smith hinted that Labour would ‘get rid’ of the funding for Trident.

The Trident issue will be resolved after the election, when it will be settled whether Trident will be replaced, upgraded or scrapped and the SNP and Green’s are aiming to do the latter.

The Liberal Democrats are not keen on Trident and want to make cuts to Trident with an aim to limit the current fleet of four submarines to three, this would see three subs renewed and one scrapped, and savings made.

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Ukip has said that it would cancel the Trident replacement in favour of a cheaper “advanced stealth cruise-type missile” that can be delivered by land, sea or air.

With all this talk of the General Election 2015 coming up, Trident has become a focus and decisions on Trident’s future has become speculative.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said about Ed Miliband as using Trident the Nuclear Deterrent as a chip to be bargaining with the SNP over, who are wanting an open vote in Parliament on the pending issue of Trident, which Labour are said to be in favour for, although prior to this Ed Miliband had said he was committed to Trident.

Trident’s missiles, warheads, and submarines are no doubt costly according to a series of statements made in Parliament by ministers of the Minstry of Defence  in 2008 and 2012 the annual operating costs of the Trident programme amount to around 5 to 6 per cent of the defence budget. That’s the equivalent of between £2 to £2.4 billion.

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(CND) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament state on their website that “the current government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of around £100 billion. This money would be enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5 million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools, or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. That includes the cost of running and servicing the submarines over a projected 40-year lifespan.”

Is now the right time to do away with Trident?

Tried and tested Trident does it work as a deterrent?

Dangerous deterrent?

Trident deterrent or threat?

Tired of Trident?

Is it too costly?

Many of the campaigners and protesters against Trident have brought these questions to the Election 2015 spotlight, political parties and candidates have had to put an emphasis on this issue to optimize their opportunities to gain voters.

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Unilateral Disarmament alongside the World is also what Protesters and Campaigners against Trident have been pointing out and are encouraging the stance that the UK could go further with a lateral disarmament?

Would this do the UK and the World a world of good? or not? An interesting fact is that the UK is also a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is applied to Trident; as by international law Britain is committed to eliminating its nuclear arsenal under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

190 states have signed the treaty, which states that: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The treaty is reviewed every five years. At the latest NPT Review Conference in New York in 2010, Britain reaffirmed its “unequivocal” commitment to disarm.

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The upcoming General election has found many other questions to be asked of Trident, such as whether or not Trident has become outdated since the Cold War era, and whether it acts as a deterrent or is ineffective in today’s society as there is at present no intent to use Nuclear weaponry.

An Insurance policy, a deterrent only, as has been proclaimed from the beginning of the debates surrounding Trident.

election 2015 too

Most recently in April 2015 David Cameron said “Trident is the ultimate insurance policy for our country.” He also stated at the Conservatives’ Manifesto Launch that he wanted to build four new Submarines not three as the Liberal Democrats want.

The latest debate on Trident has become a key highlight of the Election 2015 and is an issue which seems to have many politicians trying to appeal to a range of their potential voters.

David Cameron made clear his views on Trident making a pledge to renew, whilst Ed tries to work his Miliband magic into the office at No 10, whether Mr Miliband will waver on Trident is awaited by many.

Nicola Sturgeon leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who has been linked to a potential coalition with Labour, should there be a hung parliament, she said of Trident, that they would make Trident a “red line” issue whereby there is no compromise on whether Trident should be given the go-ahead, “it is a red line issue and will be voted to be scrapped.”

The Green Party who have been outspoken about Trident for a long time said of the pressing issue “The government intentionally pushed the review on our nuclear weapons capability back to 2016 to prevent it becoming a general election issue,” said Lesley Grahame, peace and disarmament spokeswoman for the Green party. “Every pound spent before the decision, before parliament gets to vote on the matter, or a public debate is held, should be considered a very serious blow for democracy.”

Miss Grahame is referring to the blows most recently of an ongoing situation where money is being spent on Trident before the review has taken place which is due in 2016.

Lastly controversy surrounds Trident as it is not an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ as many like David Cameron and Ed Miliband claim; Trident works with the US which Trident is dependent on and involved with the US; the Trident missiles are manufactured in the US and the alliance has compatible missiles which can be used in the UK submarines as well as the US ones. Yet Trident is still referred to as ‘independent’.

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I spoke to Shasha Khan Green Party Candidate for Croydon North and he gave me his take on an independent  Trident saying:

“It is important to dispel the myth that Trident is an independent nuclear deterrent. These missiles are dependent on US satellites.”

I asked him also what he thought about the renewal of Trident, Shasha told me:

“It is abhorrent to start spending £100 billion pounds on renewing Trident when according to Mumsnet one in five mothers regularly skips a meal so that their children can eat.

There are many dangers and concerns with Trident using the Trident arsenal would cause nuclear proliferation on a destructive scale more powerful than that of Hiroshima. Then there is the threat of Nuclear accidents with submarines, referring to the most recent accident with the Submarine in Russia which caught fire and when in 2011 a sub was carrying atomic weapons and also caught fire.

Many would argue that in today’s world with threats from rogue states and also the threat of international terrorism that Trident is a must, others are saying the costs of Trident is too expensive to the UK and will these weapons of immense destruction ever be used?

Shasha Khan

Shasha Khan and the Green Party believe strongly against Trident and he outlined his concern:

“Renewing Trident sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, it says if you want security you need nuclear missiles.”

To conclude: Trident, scrapped or saved?

Until the General Election 2015 is over Trident will be raged about in debates and the debate will rage on till 2016 which will be ‘decision time’ and Trident will have to be scrapped or saved.

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