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Nuclear Armed Bullies and NPT Review - Nuclear Armed Bullies and NPT Review

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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 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 Musharraff 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 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 they were picking up surface-to-air missiles Pakistan had purchased. In April 2003, a cargo-ship containing a 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 first hand 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 both 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 being 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 neighbours and the United States, North Korea signed the document that commits it—in theory—to scrapping its nuclear weapons and weapons programs and readmitting inspectors from IAEA. North Korea's neighbours 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 intentions 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 between these two countries. 

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.  
The 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 chief 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 drawings 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 endeavours 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."

A more independent Christian Science Monitor commented,  ”Iran bids to redefine nuclear limits--Iran's president challenges the sway of Western powers” This 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. 

Libya and other Muslim countries

Once Libya decided to 'come clean' on its weapons of mass destruction programs, the implications on AQ Khan and, possibly, Pakistan were clear. Starting in the early 1990s, Libya’s disclosed uranium enrichment program appeared, 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, in such a secretive and 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 towards for Pakistan nuclear program.  Saudi Arabia, which considered itself the leader of the Sunnis, was happy that Pakistan succeeded in acquiring the Islamic bomb. The 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 the German media about possession of nuclear technology if not nukes transferred by Pakistan. What Islamabad could do much for Iran, it might 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 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 cross roads 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..

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