Western Nuclear Powers, China and Pakistan
are the Worst Proliferators
"The present system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons is at an end, is bankrupt." - Mohamed El Baradei, head of IAEA at Davos in 2005.
Mohamed El Baradei, described as "unworkable" the way of thinking that it is "morally reprehensible for some counties to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use" (NYT Feb 12, 2004)
"The US has very little leverage with potential proliferators," says Ms. Natalie Goldring. "When headlines in the US talk of preemptive attacks on countries without nuclear weapons, and that [the US] will improve its tactical nuclear arsenal, our leverage is zero or negative." Goldring is from Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in Washington.
“The double standard of insisting that we (US) can possess nuclear weapons and threaten first-strike attacks, while other nations cannot, is rightfully seen as old-fashioned hypocrisy and fuels proliferation.” Dr. Joseph Gerson in Truthout.com
"The United States is the major culprit in the erosion of the NPT. While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea ... they also have abandoned past pledges and now threaten first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states" - Former president Jimmy Carter.
The eighth conference held once every 5 years to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) at the U.N. headquarters in New York from May 3 will be attended by delegates from 189 countries. But Washington has made no secret that along with Moscow and Beijing with London and Paris in tow, that it would like the apartheid system of the five nuclear weapons states NWPS, who also have veto power in UNSC, to maintain their monopoly of catastrophic destruction and blackmail.
In this endeavor US has combined the role of the Pope and Ayatollah. Susan Burk US President Barack Obama’s Special Representative for nuclear non-proliferation said efforts will be made to make India and Pakistan sign the NPT. The current dispensations in New Delhi should not succumb. It refuses to learn even after so many deceptions and betrayals by Washington. The world must resist this monopoly and concentration of powers of Armageddon like destruction which if unleashed shall cripple if not end the homo-sapiens short and not such a glorious existence on planet Earth.
In April, President Obama unveiled the new Nuclear Posture Review - which narrows the circumstances in which the US would use nuclear weapons - outlining his country's long-term strategy of nuclear disarmament. He and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, also signed a nuclear arms treaty in the Czech capital, Prague. That treaty commits them to reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 each - 30% lower than the previous ceiling.
It may be noted that even with the New START reductions in each country's nuclear warheads, the US and Russia still will possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons seven years from now. Despite Obama's claims of reducing the US nuclear stockpile, the Federation of American Scientists finds that New START "doesn't force either country to make changes in its nuclear structure."
Israel’s hardline prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to attend the preparatory ( for NPT Review Conference in New York ) Nuclear Security Summit on April 12–14 over the security of "vulnerable nuclear material." in Washington, afraid of being singled out for criticism by other nations in the Middle East . Over 40 countries attended the Summit which focused on controlling the fissionable material around the world and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to militant groups. Probably the most concrete thing accomplished during the two days was a "voluntary" agreement that the countries came to that each country will do their best to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials over the next four years. If US had wanted to put pressure on Tehran it did not succeed.
India was flattered by a few photo ops with US leaders for which Indian leadership whether NDA or UPA is full of suckers. Remember honorable members of the Indian Parliament falling over each other to shake US president Bill Clinton’s hand when he visited India in 1999.
Piqued at being left out of Afghan and other decisions by Washington, India also attended conference by Iran entitled "International Disarmament and Non-proliferation: World Security without Weapons of Mass Destruction" on 17 and 18 April 2010 which Teheran dubbed as "nuclear energy for everyone, nuclear weapons for no one," organized to counter Obama Summit. The Tehran conference resulted in Iranian President Ahmadinejad's call for more rigorous action toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons than the steps outlined by the Washington Summit.
This essay briefly describes the evolution and growth of the nuclear arms, strategy to control and maintain hegemony by five NWPS against the will of almost the rest of the world and to expose their role in proliferation of nuclear arms while mouthing hypocritical and pious statements on total disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapons.
The Last NPT Review
The seventh review conference in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster (as were the two previous ones –you guessed it –unwillingness of the NWPS to keep their side of the bargain of disarmament). After futile deliberations lasting 4 months, the Conference failed even to agree on a consensus document or adopt a common resolution or even a substantive Chairman's statement, because of the big brother attitude of the nuclear haves, fuelling cynicism if the world would ever be free from the fear of nuclear weapons holocaust. Any hopes to transform the existing international proliferation control regime and reduce, if not eliminate, the global nuclear danger promised in the 2000 review were thus again belied.
The NWPS have succeeded in limiting the nations with nuke making capability to a few since NPT came into force in 1970 by allowing direct attacks, sabotage and sanctions While the treaty required that nations without nuclear weapons commit not to acquire them; those with them committed themselves to move toward their elimination. Everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy was allowed. India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba did not sign the NPT. North Korea has been in and then out
The five NWPS have done little towards eliminating their nuclear arsenals. Instead they have improved upon the lethality of their nukes and delivery systems. West and Israel have used wars in the Middle East and Europe to test their newer and even prohibited weapons. They have regularly threatened and blackmailed non-nuclear nations and when it suited, aided or acquiesced in its spread to their allies. While US led West goes wild condemning north Korea, Iran and others, but it says little about Pakistan blackmail and not so veiled threats against India, even after 26/11 rape of India’s commercial and cultural capital Mumbai, thus providing cover to nuclear terrorism.
United States was the first country to make atomic bombs in 1945 and use it against Hiroshima and Nagasaki without fear of retaliation. US president Franklin Roosevelt's son and confidant, talking of people "scorched and boiled and baked to death", said that the atomic bombing should continue "until we have destroyed about half the Japanese civilian population". General Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, hastily reassured congressmen that radiation caused no "undue suffering" and that "in fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die". In 1946 a US strategic bombing survey concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if atomic bombs had not been dropped".
The earlier attempts at non-proliferation were limited to keeping the knowhow to build the bomb a secret. It failed; the USSR (1949), the UK (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) succeeded in making bombs. Since then India (1974), Israel (1979), Pakistan (1998), and North Korea (2006) have become nuclear weapons powers, but not recognized as such. Sanctions were imposed against India Pakistan and north Korea but not against Israel. South Africa has the capability, having produced six nuclear weapons in the 1980s which were later disassembled. Now the knowhow is widespread, almost available on internet.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, the nuclear warheads distribution is as follows:
USA-2200, UK-160, France-300, Russia-2800, China-180.
Israel-80 ! , Pakistam-80, India-60, North Korea < 10
US-Iran Nuclear Dispute about Regional Domination
So now efforts are being made to control the manufacture of enriched uranium and other fissionable material, even for power stations, where the purity required is 10-15% whereas it needs enrichment of over 90% to make a bomb. The infrastructure required for this level of enrichment is too massive to be hidden. Still US led west is hell bent on denying this right which Iran has under the NPT treaty it had signed. Even when US’s own intelligence assessments report that Tehran is far away from the objective of bomb making. It is just to browbeat Iran, in which Moscow and Beijing play the big power game as it suits their own strategic objectives of the moment. Israel, which has US politicians by braces and brooches, disseminates false claims and alarms about Tehran being in sight of bomb making. When Russia provided Syria with defensive short range missiles some years ago, Israel proclaimed that the strategic balance was altered in the Middle East. Russian President Vladimir Putin quipped, “Yes, the Israeli jets will not be able to buzz at will the Presidential palace in Damascus.”
India unwisely made an enemy of Tehran by siding with USA and getting little in return. In fact it signed away its future nuclear strategic options by its treaty with USA. It is becoming clearer to even those afflicted with Washcon Syndrome in India and resident and nonresident non-Indians, who love USA deeply and are ever ready to barter away India’s interests for a scholarship, an honorary degree or such small favors, that for US led West to maintain control over oil wells in the Middle East and Central Asia and Caspian; Pakistan, created for this very purpose, will always be vital and more important than India. These Indians would end up allowing Washington using India against China as US led West manipulated Saddam’s Iraq against Iran in 1980s.
An important subject for the Review would be some action on the 15 year old Egyptian proposal to make Middle East a nuclear free zone. Cairo has proposed that the 2010 conference endorse launching such negotiations. Iran has repeatedly endorsed the idea of making its region nuclear weapon-free, in effect trading its presumed weapons-making potential for Israel's decades-old clandestine bomb stockpile of over hundred of nukes. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can be expected to repeat that call at the conference and defend Iran's nuclear program as purely civilian.
Ahmadinejad, speaking on International Workers' Day on 1st May claimed he has proof that US and Israel are linked to the world's leading terrorist organizations (Polls even in Europe rate US and Israel highest dangers to peace) "We have documents that prove (Washington) is the root of world terrorism," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Tehran, according to Press TV. "It has been aiding and abetting extremist groups over the past years."
Ahmadinejad declared that Tehran “cuts any hand that signs a document against Iran," according to the semi-official FARS news agency. The US "is the only country to have used the atomic bomb in military conflict," he added. "They even admit themselves that they resorted to using (similar weapons) during the war they waged on Iraq." The United States has not admitted using such weapons in the Iraq war.
(He probably means depleted Uranium ammunition used in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Israel also used against Lebanon in 2006 war. Washington had threatened using nukes if Saddam Hussein used its non-nuclear WMD s against US forces in 1991 war according to rumors in Amman where the author was then posted.)
Already criminal use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons by USA and its allies has played havoc in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and even beyond in India by a diabetes epidemic as explained by an expert on DU, through air currents transfer of DUs particles from Afghanistan and China. Use of DU weapons, with air currents blowing back the particles, by Israel in south Lebanon has seriously affected the impregnating capacity of male sperm in Israel with serious demographic consequences.
A few days before Ahmadinejad’s tirade, secretary of state Hillary Clinton condemned him.
"Iran, with its anti-Semitic president and hostile nuclear ambitions, also continues to threaten Israel, destabilize the region, and sponsor terror," Clinton said, addressing the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee. (Pray what threat Iran poses to Israel. Tel Aviv and Tehran’s expenditure on defense, number of aircrafts and land based weapons are at least twice and more; Israel has over hundreds nukes and threatened to use them many times.)
While insisting that Iran maintain transparency, various reports by IAEA’s have validated earlier conclusions that it had not found evidence that Iran was engaged in the banned nuclear weapons program.
Countries belonging to the non-aligned movement (NAM) have stated that all countries have "a basic and inalienable right" to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. NAM members note that while Western nations repeatedly ask why Iran is so insistent on building nuclear power plants when the country has vast reserves of oil and natural gas, they never pose the same question to the Russians, who have built a large number of nuclear power plants despite having the largest natural gas reserves in the world. In any event, hydrocarbon energy resources are finite with many reports suggesting a peak oil production soon.
Israel, the Nuclear elephant in the room.
Israel’s nuke project began soon after its establishment in 1948. After the 1956 UK-France led fiasco over Suez canal, in which US sided with Egypt, Paris and London extended all possible help to Israel in its nuke program based at Dimona. It reportedly ‘stole’ Uranium from US naval stores. "Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they (Israel) felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices. By the 1973 Yom Kippur War Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered launching them. The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons. Israel has most probably conducted several nuclear bomb tests."
After the exit of US gendarme Shah of Iran in the Middle East, Tehran has been replaced by Tel Aviv making it more obdurate and irresponsible. During the 1991 US led war on Iraq to liberate Kuwait; US had to station its acting secretary of state Eagleburgher in Tel Aviv to restrain Israel.
In 1991 Seymour Hersh wrote a book 'The Samson Option; Israel's nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy' (The Biblical Samson, of course, brought down a temple that killed himself and his enemies), which derives from Israeli view that once they had the bomb they are in a position to bring it all down on everyone if they felt cornered. Israel used nuclear blackmail to force USA to airlift unlimited military supplies during the 1973 Yom Kippur war and putting Western forces on alert. The threat of blackmail continues to distort the US –Israeli relationship. It also encourages Israel to ignore and defy the rest of the world and even USA.
Iran's Nuclear Program
Iran's nuclear program was started in the 1970s under the Shah, with Washington’s encouragement and co-operation. But after the Shah's overthrow following the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, a 45-nation cartel, ceased any relationship with Iran, although Imam Khomeini had declared that making of atomic bombs was haram, (illegal) and issued a Fatwa.This position has been reiterated by his successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
During the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, Iran was reportedly in touch with intermediaries of the nuclear parts black market run by Dr. AQ Khan. At a meeting with a Khan representative, Iran received a written offer for the delivery of the makings of a nuclear weapons program. Iran bought P-1 gas centrifuge designs to enrich uranium and a starter kit for uranium enrichment.
But Iran told the IAEA in 2003 that it decided not to pursue the offer of parts for the core of a bomb. (Documents concerning the 1987 offer were made available to the UN inspectors later). In 1992-94 Iran bought a duplicate set of P-1 centrifuge designs, components for 500 used P-1 centrifuges and took delivery of a design for the advanced P-2
At the same time in 1992, Iran and Russia signed a nuclear co-operation agreement followed by a 1995 deal for the Russians to construct a light-water civil reactor at Bushehr which is yet to come on stream. There is trust deficit between Tehran and Moscow because of historical rivalries.
However, when Iran's deals with Dr. AQ Khan became public, Tehran put its enrichment of uranium program under international inspection in 2003, and started negotiations with EU team; Britain, Germany and France, in an attempt to end the US-led Western freeze on technological transfers, including spare parts for civilian planes to Iran.
But the US nuclear Ayatollahs had little intention of an agreed solution, except total surrender by Iran. So Tehran removed the seals on nuclear material in 2006 to resume low-level enrichment in the presence of the IAEA inspectors, which it continues.
There might be some area of darkness about progress in its enrichment program prior to 2003 but US approach appears like that on Iraq, asking for more intrusive inspections, then for stricter monitoring and even intelligence collection for an eventual attack.
The possession of half a dozen nuclear bombs by North Korea have proved that only nuclear weapons can protect a poor and small nation and guard its sovereignty. Pakistan, one seventh India’ size because of its nuclear threat continues to blackmail and bully India, in which it has been encouraged and aided by Anglo-Saxons. It is natural that Iran after mastering the legal Uranium fuel cycle would embark on the Pakistani path and could arrive there sooner or later.
Emerging Problems in Far East
US continues to blow hot and cold on north Korea, which has declared that it has nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has mastered the missile technology and trades in it. North Korea has escaped 'regime change' because Washington is afraid of retaliatory attacks on its 35,000 plus troops stationed in South Korea and on Japan. When asked why Saddam Hussein was chosen for regime change from among dictatorial regimes, Dick Cheney told Prince Hassan of Jordan that it was "doable" (as if it was USA's divine right). It sums up the US nuclear policy towards non-allies and sends a chilling message around.
Pyongyang has at the back of its mind half a century of US nuclear intimidation, beginning with the Korean War, when 'military commanders Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Ridgeway, presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all at one time or other favored a nuclear attack on north Korea and were restrained only by the fear of possible Soviet retaliation.'
It has often been suggested that China could bring Pyongyang around to an agreement by simply withholding aid and trade. This is undoubtedly true, but Beijing has said more than once, openly and up front, that it will not do so. Nothing two-faced about it! "The Chinese are not particularly worried if north Korea has an atomic bomb. They don't believe Pyongyang would be stupid enough to drop one on them. Historically, China has not been concerned about nuclear non-proliferation." As with Pakistan too.
The solitary Atomic bombs victim Japan proclaims "three non-nuclear principles" i.e. non-production, non-possession and non-introduction into Japan and has a "peace constitution". But the core of its defense is nuclear weapons, never mind they are American, assuring "that any enemy attacking or threatening it with nuclear weapons would be devastated by American nuclear counter-attack." But it is also in the process of becoming a nuclear superpower, as it has both enrichment and reprocessing facilities, and is developing a fast-breeder reactor." Its stocks of plutonium amount to more than 40 tons, the equivalent of 5,000 Nagasaki-type weapons. Its determined pursuit of a nuclear cycle, giving it the wherewithal to be able quickly to go nuclear should that Rubicon ever be reached, - is in defiance of the February 2005 appeal from the IAEA director general for a five-year freeze on all enrichment and reprocessing works."
How will Japan react, a country totally opposed to nuclear weapons but with technical capability to produce nuclear weapons with delivery vehicles within a short time! Without any satisfactory agreed law and regime on the nuclear question, the situation might get out of hand. Who knows, with their expertise on miniaturization from trees to music systems what the Japanese might come up with!
The previous US administration, under president George W. Bush, was unenthusiastic about arms control talks. Bush even decided that UN was irrelevant and invaded Iraq against the UN Charter. A sobered up Washington under president Obama, after being caught in quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan left behind by his predecessors and strategic retreats from Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, Moscow bashing of Georgian ally, has steered the US back onto a negotiating track, and a new US-Russian agreement to reduce their thousands of long-range nuclear arms .was signed just last month.
China which has been a major proliferator in providing Pakistan nuclear material, knowhow and blueprints is now planning to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan, disregarding the views of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the US puppets in India filling newspapers like Indian Express and others while trumpeting the US kindness had made such a great hoo-ha of US vardan - reward.
“In most communities it is illegal to cry "fire" in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?” Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Extending Eisenhower’s statement it should be declared that the threat and use of nuclear weapons be declared a crime against humanity. US, Israel and Pakistan keep threatening their neighbors and beyond.Western media rarely condemns such nuclear weapons use policies, postures and actual preparation to load bombs to blackmail non-nuclear weapons states.
Last review in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster.
The 2005 review proved that on the point of disarmament and reduction of arsenals of nuclear weapons , the gang of five stick together aggressively led by USA– No concessions. Period.
While the 5 NWP s could be jointly held responsible for the ignominious end of the review, USA, specially under the Bush administration was staunchly opposed to arms control and nuclear-arms reduction. Indeed it went back from the commitments made in 2000, whereby they had agreed to 13 "Practical Steps" which would put some flesh on their "unequivocal undertaking" to fulfill their obligation towards complete nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT.
Instead "USA argued in 2005 that the problem with the NPT regime lies not in the nuclear weapons-states' inaction over disarmament, but in the lack of compliance with it by states such as north Korea and Iran. The other four NWS s too colluded with the US in trying to shift attention away from their failure to begin negotiations on nuclear weapons reduction and ultimate abolition".
The US has been developing "usable low yield" mini-nukes and would redesign earlier bombs for bunker-busting of targets buried deep underground. Both US and UK are into further research on Hydrogen bombs and to place nukes and other new lethal weapons in space. In 1998 a Commission under Donald Rumsfeld had produced the pro-"Star Wars" (Missile Defense) Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States.
After Bush's election in 2000, Washington walked out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and 'unsigned' the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The 2001 "Nuclear Posture Review" recommended the revitalization of US nuclear forces, and all the elements that support them, within a new triad of conventional and nuclear capabilities.
In 2006 USA adopted a production schedule of 250 nuclear warheads per year and promised to extend its nuclear hegemony over the earth and into space. Under the cover of USA's never ending so called war on terror all kinds of lethal weapons are being developed and tested.
UK has modernized its nuclear forces and assigned tactical missions to its Trident. Paris said that its security "is now and will be guaranteed above all by our nuclear deterrent."
So Russia and China responded. President Putin said Russia was "carrying out research and missile tests of state-of-the-art nuclear missile systems" and that Moscow would "continue to build up firmly and insistently our armed forces, including the nuclear components". Moscow is also reportedly developing unique new-generation nuclear weapons "not possessed by any country in the world," while China has diluted its no-first-use policy and is "upgrading" and modernizing its missiles.
And after September 11, 2001, all of the 5 NWP have become even more addicted to nuclear weapons for 'security'." It is but an excuse. US uses the excuse of its ‘war on terror’ to arm Pakistan with F-16s and other heavy arms and naval hardware which can be used only against India
El Baradei had warned ,"In recent years, three phenomena—the emergence of a nuclear black market, the determined efforts by additional countries to acquire the technology to produce the fissile material useable to nuclear weapons, and the clearly expressed desired of terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction—have radically altered the security landscape."
Obligations and responsibilities
of Nuclear Weapons States
Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" which came into force on March 5, 1970 says;
"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, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
The NPT signed in 1968, based on a covenant between NPWs and non-NPWs is now subscribed to by 187 states, the four very notable exceptions being Israel, India and Pakistan (north Korea left NPT in 2003), which possess nuclear weapons and Cuba, which does not. India has always criticized NPT as discriminatory and unequal. In 1995, NPT’s initial validity of 25 years was extended indefinitely, with a review conference to be held after every five years.
"It is nonetheless the case that states not endowed with nuclear weapons and signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have always had a basis for considering that the international cooperation provided for in that treaty to develop civilian applications for the atom has stayed a dead letter, as has the compensation promised in exchange for their renunciation of nuclear weapons."
International legal position; NWP s Remain Defiant
The non NWP s have tried all forums to make NWP s implement their obligations under NPT.
International Court of Justice; Its Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, July 8, 1996:
"There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control." Para. 105(2)(F).
"The legal import of [the NPT Article VI] obligation goes beyond that of a mere obligation of conduct; the obligation involved here is an obligation to achieve a precise result — nuclear disarmament in all its aspects — by adopting a particular course of conduct, namely, the pursuit of negotiations on the matter in good faith." Para. 99.
"States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets". Para 78 (emphasis added). This "cardinal" rule of humanitarian law is "fundamental" and "intransgressible". Paras 78, 79.
"[T]he threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law. However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitely whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake." Para 105(2)(E).
After the ICJ 1996 opinion the obligation to negotiate elimination of nuclear arsenals applies to all states, especially those with massive arsenals.
The "Principles and Objectives" after the 1995 review, reaffirmed the NPT disarmament obligations and showed a road map. It called for negotiation of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 1996, "immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiation" of a ban on production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons use, and "the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goals of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
“Since 1995, support for compliance with the NPT disarmament obligation has been expressed in forums of every kind and at every level, from organizations to professional associations to towns to cities to national parliaments to the European Parliament to the United Nations."
UN General Assembly Resolutions
Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court Justice, UN GA’s res. 54/54 Q (1 December 1999, yes 114, no 28, abstain 22): "2. Calls once again upon all States to immediately fulfill [the nuclear disarmament obligation affirmed by the ICJ] by commencing multilateral negotiations in 2000 leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination."
”Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world: the need for a new agenda, res. 54/54 G (1 December 1999, yes 111, no 13, abstain 39): "1. Calls upon the Nuclear-Weapon States to make an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the speedy and total elimination of their nuclear arsenals and to engage without delay in an accelerated process of negotiations, thus achieving nuclear disarmament, to which they are committed under article VI of the NPT."
”Declaration on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear and Thermonuclear Weapons, res. 1653 (1961, yes 55, no 20, abstain 26): Use of nuclear weapons is "contrary to the spirit, letter and aims of the United Nations and, as such, a direct violation of the Charter of the United Nations," "contrary to the rules of international law and to the laws of humanity," and "a crime against mankind and civilization".
Pakistan’s Dr. Khan’s Nuke Material
and knowhow ‘Wal-Mart’
When it comes to nuclear proliferation, Pakistan is a favorite of both China and USA, with Beijing flouting the NPT and US acquiescing in Islamabad selling nuclear know how and material openly.
It was the Bhopal (India) born Pakistan national and German trained metallurgist and nuclear scientist and a globalizer in nuclear weapons technology, Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, who brought into world focus in 2004, Timbuktu, now known for its remoteness and but a great commercial and Islamic cultural center in medieval times. Khan invested in a Timbuktu Hotel, La Colombe (named after his Dutch wife) so that he could travel from Pakistan to Timbuktu and the region and back and even supervise transfer of yellow cake to Pakistan and elsewhere. One can easily fly east from Timbuktu, a town in Mali on river Niger at the southern edge of the Sahara desert to Niger, east of Mali, with its Uranium mines or go by road or river. He went around openly, flying around to Morocco, Mali, Chad, Sudan and everywhere the maker of the Islamic bomb was a welcome hero.
In 2004 the media accused Khan about his proliferation activities accusing him of even using Pakistan military aircrafts to transport furniture for his Timbuktu hotel project from Pakistan. Whatever came in on return journeys, Yellow cake! from neighboring Niger (George Bush had falsely accused of getting yellow cake from Niger) Not even the gullible would believe that such top secret transfers were not known to the all-powerful ISI, the Intelligence Services of Pakistan or the western intelligence services.
A former Dutch Prime Minister revealed that he was stopped from moving against Khan by USA’s Central Intelligence Agency.
AQ Khan’s contribution to Globalization of nuclear weapons technology
Khan ,while employed in early 1970s by Physics Dynamic Research Laboratory, based in Amsterdam, a subcontractor to the URENCO consortium specializing in the manufacture of nuclear equipment, was persuaded in 1975 to take over Pakistan’s Uranium enrichment plant by Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who after India’s 1974 nuclear implosion had vowed that Pakistan would have its Islamic bomb even if “we eat grass”. Khan took over in 1976 bringing with him stolen secret URENCO blueprints for uranium centrifuge and the suppliers list .
Convicted in 1983 in abstentia by a court in the Netherlands for stealing the designs, his conviction would be later overturned on a technicality. Then US supported and financed along with Saudi Arabia and others, Pakistan based Jihad against USSR in Afghanistan was in full swing. The purloined material used for enrichment of Uranium was used in Pakistan's first nuclear device on 28 May 1998. There are credible allegations that the Pakistan’s nuclear weapons closely mirror Chinese designs from the late 1960’s.
In March 2001, when Al Qaeda showed its hand and bombed US embassies in Africa, the close collaboration with Pakistan’s ISI and military with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden was well known. So Khan, by now a Pakistan national hero, was quietly retired but remained an adviser to the new President General Pervez Musharraf. Khan’s proliferation activities could become mushroom clouds over the western horizon.
Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage in an article in Financial Times of 1 June 2001, expressed concern that, "people who were employed by the nuclear agency and have retired" may be assisting North Korea with its nuclear program. Unsaid were fears about Taliban, Al Qaeda and nuclear secrets passed on to Muslim countries like Libya and Iran among others.
In October 2003, Richard Armitage reportedly briefed president Gen. Musharraf and so did Gen. Abizaid, then head of US Central Command. But the nuclear genii was already out of the bottle. With the international inspections of Iran's nuclear operations and the October 2003 interception of a ship headed for Libya and carrying centrifuge parts, Pakistan’s game was out in the open, when United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), weighed in November 2003. In late January 2004 Pakistani officials ‘concluded’ that Khan and Mohammed Farooq were doing black market deals, but acting on their won, in sale of sensitive technology to Iran and Libya, perhaps for their own personal gain .But Musharraf, a smooth liar than former British PM Tony Blair .first denied any government involvement. Khan’s so called harsh punishment amounted to house arrest, which only meant no one could meet or interview him.
Like Pakistan’s popular TV family melodramas, Khan admitted selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea between 1989 and 2000 (to North Korea even beyond) and asked for clemency, which was promptly granted by Gen Musharraf. Any international investigation, not including US and Chinese experts would have also shown the truth of western acquiescence.
The network used to supply these activities was global in scope, stretching from Germany to Dubai and from China to South and South East Asia, and involved numerous middlemen and suppliers. Khan Research Laboratories' sales brochure had promoted the sale of components derived from Pakistan's nuclear weapons program and critical to the making of centrifuges.
Khan traveled openly during late 1990s to many countries around Niger, with Pakistani missions in Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Malaysia etc. providing him all help. This information is available in media and books. In Cleric Turaibi’s Sudan, where Osama was guest for some time before returning to Afghanistan, Khan was welcomed by the Sudanese President and the minister of education. Many times Khan was accompanied by senior serving scientists of Pakistan's nuclear establishment, responsible for Pakistan's military nuclear development. These included Dr. Fakhrul Hasan Hashmi, Chief Scientific Adviser to Khan, Brig. Tajwar, Director-General Security Khan’s Research Laboratory, Dr.Nazir Ahmed, Director-General S&TC Division KRL among others. Khan and his aids visited at least 10 African countries in February, 2000 alone.
An investigation into Khans’ activities revealed transfer of nuclear weapons-related technology, centrifuge parts, and blueprints to Iran and Libya through a Malaysian middleman, Buhary Syed Abu Tahir. The network comprised of European middlemen from Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland which helped Khan in illicit trafficking and proliferation of nuclear technology through countries ranging from the United Arab Emirates, to South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Times of India, in early 2004, reported that Khan sold Nuke know how to Syria and Turkey. Damascus later denied the report.
North Korea & Pakistan in a Missile for Nukes Tango
In Pakistan’s wide ranging nuclear proliferation, especially with North Korea, almost all Pakistan Prime Ministers and Military Chiefs were reportedly involved. Khan’s network reportedly played a key role in North Korea’s nuclear program, including both centrifuge designs and a small number of actual complete centrifuges, in addition to a list of components needed to manufacture additional ones, after it had agreed under the 1994 Agreed Framework to freeze its reactors and reprocessing facilities. In return, in 1994 Pakistani Gen. Abdul Waheed sent Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to Pyongyang for North Korean assistance in nuclear-capable long range missiles and to bring back computer disks containing specifications for missiles. It was claimed that lack of money on Pakistan’s part made trading easier! Soon Khan made the first of his about 13 trips to North Korea, as part of a Pakistani delegation to Pyongyang, composed of both scientists and military officers. At that time Gen. Musharraf was Gen Waheed’s director general for military operations.
Khan confessed to helping North Korea with the knowledge and approval of senior military commanders, among which were two army chiefs Gen Musharraf and Gen. Karamat. Khan claimed that Karamat was also aware of the terms of the barter deal between North Korea and Pakistan, as Pakistan test-fired a Ghauri missile in April 1998. Implicitly Musharraf knew too as after becoming army chief of staff in October 1998, he also took over the Ghauri program. In exchange, North Korea got centrifuge components between 1997-1999, with Khan’s network providing direct technical assistance between the years 1998-2000.
In 2000, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence conducted a charade raid on an aircraft chartered by the Khan Lab and bound for North Korea because it was claimed that senior military commanders were unaware of Khan's dealings with North Korea. The raid obviously yielded no evidence. As late as July 2002, Pakistani cargo planes were spotted by US Spy satellites in Pyongyang being loaded with missile parts. Later President Gen Musharraf claimed that these were picking up surface-to-air missiles Pakistan had purchased. In April 2003, a cargo-ship containing aluminum tubing, intended for use as outer casings for G-2(P-2) centrifuges, was intercepted in the Suez Canal following German conclusion that it was headed for North Korea. It was also reported that Khan admitted that during a 1999 visit to an undisclosed location, an hour out of Pyongyang, he witnessed firsthand what were described to be three plutonium nuclear devices produced by North Korea.
However, only in August 2005, President Musharraf for the first time confirmed, during an interview with the Japanese news agency Kyodo, that Khan had transferred centrifuges and centrifuge parts as well as their designs on to North Korea.
US and North Korea
After three years of confrontation between US and North Korea, choice insults hurled at each other and off and on negotiations - a statement of principles intended to form a framework for an eventual agreement was signed on 19 September 2005, after four rounds of six-party talks in Beijing. Under intense pressure from its neighbors and the United States, North Korea signed up to the document that commits it - in theory - to scrapping its nuclear weapons and weapons programs and readmitting inspectors from IAEA. The North Korea's neighbors and the US, in return, have agreed to supply energy assistance and move towards diplomatic normalization. The US also promised it had no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and had no intention to attack the North Korea. If North Korea has lied so has USA broken international laws and treaties, invaded Iraq against UN opposition, so there is little trust in each other.
Pakistan’s Help to Iran
Following Iran's disclosure of uranium enrichment research and subsequent inspections in 2004, the central role of Pakistan in Iran's nuclear program became clear. According to media reports, Khan reportedly told Inter Services Intelligence officials that he transferred nuclear weapons technology so that other Muslim countries could use it to enhance their security.
Global Security.Org website said that, “according to confessions by A.Q. Khan and his aides to Pakistani investigators, he reportedly implicated among others, Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, who is a Shia Pakistan's army chef from 1988-1991, and that any nuclear technology shared with Iran had been approved by him. These charges were denied by Beg. But there was evidence that Beg had been informed by Khan of the transfer to Iran in early 1991 of outdated hardware, though it has been claimed that A.Q. Khan had led him to believe that the material would not allow Iran to produce enriched uranium.
“A.Q. Khan has claimed that equipment and drawing shipped to Iran were supplied as a result of pressure from the late Gen. Imtiaz during his tenure as defense advisor to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from December 1988 to August 1990. Khan also admitted to meeting Iranian scientists in Karachi at the request of Dr. Niazi, a close Bhutto aide. In return for the help, Iran transferred millions of dollars to foreign bank accounts, with some money funneled through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which collapsed in 1991.
“Some of the centrifuges examined also appeared to have been used outside Iran to enrich uranium, while components of some centrifuges appeared to have come directly from Pakistan. Though some of the machines Iran had bought did not work properly, Iran reportedly still managed to effect significant improvements on Pakistani equipment designs. Despite the design similarities, Iran has nonetheless denied having received them from Pakistan.
“Faced with disclosure, Khan reportedly contacted Iranian officials to not only urge them to destroy some of their facilities but also to pretend that the Pakistanis who had assisted them had died. In early March 2005, Pakistan acknowledged A. Q. Khan had provided centrifuges to Iran, though it denied having had any knowledge of the transactions."
Iran Counters Western Bullying
In his statements President Ahmadinejad has accused the West of "nuclear apartheid" and lambasted them as sponsors of state terrorism around the world. "Those hegemonic powers, who consider scientific and technological progress of independent and free nations as a challenge to their monopoly on these instruments of power ... have misrepresented Iran's healthy and fully safeguarded technological endeavors in the nuclear field as pursuit of nuclear weapons," he said. "This is nothing but a propaganda ploy."
Ahmadinejad said Iran would not accept "nuclear apartheid" that permitted some countries to enrich fuel, but not others. "We're not going to cave in to the excessive demands of certain powers," He correctly insisted the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, gave every signatory the right to produce nuclear fuel, an interpretation wrongly disputed by the West. He insisted that Iran's program was purely for peaceful civilian energy purposes and said Tehran would cooperate with the IAEA, although he hinted that it would consider withdrawing from the NPT if the matter was sent to the Security Council. he charged, with a doctrine that includes preemptive strikes and developing a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons.
"For Iran, nuclear technology is a source of national pride and a demonstration of its political and technological independence from its former colonial masters," says Daryl Kimball, executive director of Arms Control Association, a non-partisan organization that researches nuclear issues. Kimball adds, "This is much more complicated than a simple economic and energy calculation."
Commented a more independent Christian Science Monitor; “Iran bids to redefine nuclear limits- Iran's president challenges the sway of Western powers” perhaps sums up best the battle between Nuclear haves and have-nots. It commented the US was failing to abide by the NPT itself,
"It is, of course, an issue of proliferation, but really it is about the nature of the [Iranian] regime, its politics, and its ambitions," says Shahram Chubin, head of research at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. The dispute masks a power play "on both sides," between Iran and the US, "It's a question of who is going to dominate the regional order." Chubin should honestly admit that the developing world supported by Russia, China, India and others is confronting inequitable Western hegemony, since 1945 and now clearly outdated.
Libya and other Muslim Countries
Once Libya decided to 'come clean' on its weapons of mass destruction programs the implications on A.Q. Khan and, possibly, Pakistan were clear. Started in the early 1990s, Libya’s disclosed uranium enrichment program appears based on both Pakistan’s centrifuge designs, with some of the centrifuges having been flown there from Pakistan. Khan confessed to meeting with Libyans in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1990. Libya was also told by the Pakistanis how and where to acquire additional components for this program. Components manufactured at a facility in Malaysia were intercepted by the United States aboard a German-registered ship on their way to Libya in October 2003 after having been spotted whilst going through the Suez Canal.
According to the minutes of a meeting of Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the British Parliament, its chairmen described Dr. AQ Khan “history's greatest nuclear proliferator”. Dr. Gary Samore from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said, “ I think we know from documentary evidence that representatives of AQ Khan approached Iraq in the months leading up to the 1991 war, and that Iraq never followed up on that offer. That is one case. According to public reports, supposedly AQ Khan approached both Syria and Saudi Arabia, both of whom, for whatever reason, decided not to purchase his services. I think we have to assume that AQ Khan knocked on every door. We may very well learn that he had contacts with other governments in the Middle East but whether anybody actually bought anything, at this point in time, I am not aware.”
While there are no known reports of any nuclear program in Saudi Arabia but in such a secretive but wealthy closed society it cannot be ruled out. Its political and military relations with Pakistan have been close and abiding. It is well-known that Saudi Arabia contributed heavily for Pakistan nuclear program. Saudi Arabia which considered itself as the leader of the Sunnis was happy that Pakistan succeeded in acquiring the Islamic bomb, never mind from the Communist Chinese. A home of Wahabbis, an ideology which it exports, even to Muslim countries, it even denies Al-Qaeda groups in the Kingdom. No one knows what is boiling inside the cauldron.
But there have been reports in German media about possession of nuclear technology if not nukes transferred by Pakistan. If Islamabad could do much for Iran, then what it will not do for its financial patron Saudi Arabia?
As with many geniuses, who hover between craziness and acute lucidity, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, mercurial physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, who led the technical side of the Manhattan project for the Atomic bomb, refused to head the hydrogen bomb project. The atomic bomb Oppenheimer had built represented destruction of 10,000 tons of TNT, the hydrogen bomb represented 10 million tons of TNT.
Oppenheimer knew that there was no defense against nuclear terrorism. At a Senate hearing he was asked "whether three or four men couldn't smuggle units of an [atomic] bomb into New York and blow up the whole city". Oppenheimer responded, "Of course it could be done, and people could destroy New York." When a startled senator then asked, "What instrument would you use to detect an atomic bomb hidden somewhere in a city?" Oppenheimer quipped, "A screwdriver" [to open each and every crate or suitcase].
In fact, Oppenheimer along with his mentor and friend Danish physicist Niels Bohr suggested to politicians in USA and UK that an international agency be created to handle nuclear technology and weapons. Political and military leaders in US and England thought the two physicists were crazy. Prime Minister Winston Churchill quipped that Bohr be locked up, while President Harry S Truman vowed never to see that expletives Oppenheimer again.
The world has arrived at a very grave if not one of the gravest of the crossroads in its history. But the politicians, believing in the survival of the fittest or one who can counter-destroy the opponent many times over, still rule the world.
K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copyright with the author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org