Emerging Strategic Nuclear Environment: Iran & North Korea (first published on 29 May, 2005)
While posted at Dakar in Senegal in West Africa ,I commenced in October 1980 the first leg of my travelathon crisscrossing continents on an Air Algeri flight which after a brief halt at Nouakchott , Mauritania ,zigzagged East to Niamey, Niger's throbbing capital (thanks to uranium). Looking down from the plane, the journey across
Sahara,crossing river ,over Niger and Gao was fascinatingly dull. I wondered if all these little known places and Bamako (Mali), N'djamena (Chad) and Bangui (Central African Republic) might become household words like Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, once the reportedly buried uranium wealth underneath were mined to fuel energy needs of last decade of this century and early 2lst century. Timbuktu
But in spite of wake up calls in 1970s of hydrocarbon energy shortage, the corporate interests in oil and gas, which is so profitable, did little to develop nuclear or other means of energy. So
How ever, it was the Bhopal ( India) born Pakistan national and German trained metallurgist and nuclear scientist and a globaliser in nuclear weapons technology ,Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, who last year brought into world focus, Timbuktu ,which even the much traveled Indian journalist Khuswant Singh thought was a only a verbal expression , when I told him about it. For in November 1979 after presenting my letters of credence in Bamako, saying now or never, I undertook a journey by road and by boat on river Niger, to sample some romance of the earlier travelers, to the famous Eldorado, where during medieval centuries a pound of salt fetched an ounce of gold, attracting traders, invaders and scholars making Timbuktu a great centre of Islamic culture and civilisation.
Who would have ever thought in 1979 that Khan would love Timbuktu so much that he would even invest in a hotel there (It appears that Hotel La Colombe (?) has been named for his wife -shades of a minor Shah Jehan).But even Dr Watson would tell Sherlock Holmes why, so that he could travel from Pakistan to Timbuktu and back and supervise transfer of yellow cake to Pakistan and elsewhere. One can easily fly east from
The media accused Khan last year when the scandal about his proliferation activities exploded, of him even using
The Muslim world has been oppressed and exploited by the Christian West since centuries and Pakistan's pioneering role is part of the battle to face up to the western challenge, whether as an ally ( against India ) or as an opponent ( sooner or later ). But for its nuclear arsenal,
Khan ,a Pakistani national ,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
In October 2003, Richard Armitage reportedly briefed 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
The network used to supply these activities has turned out to be global in scope, stretching from
Khan traveled openly during late 1990s to many countries around
An investigation into Khans' activities revealed the transfer of nuclear weapons-related technology, centrifuge parts, and blueprints to
Khan confessed to helping
How ever, only in August 2005, Pakistani President Pervez 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
After three years of confrontation, choice insults hurled at each other ( US and North Korea ) 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
While a fundamental disagreement over the scope of
"A.Q. Khan has claimed that equipment and drawing shipped to
"Some of the centrifuges examined also appeared to have been used outside
"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,
In his statement at the UN General Assembly, the recently elected President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 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."
Young, austere and ascetic Ahmadinejad is a product of the 1979 Khomeini revolution and not a Cleric like Khattami or bazzari (trader) like Rafsanjani, his predecessors and stuck to
He denied media reports that
Earlier addressing the UN, Condoleezza Rice, the
The action has now shifted to Vienna, where a critical meeting of the board of the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, began on 19 September. While European diplomats in
Earlier on 18 September,
From the Western corporate controlled media, a more independent Christian Science Monitors' headline on 19 September that "Iran bids to redefine nuclear limits-
"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
Other Muslim Nations:
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
While there has been no report of any nuclear program in
Yossi Melman writing in Haaretz of Israel, the main beneficiary if
The Iranian president is proposing the establishment of a new international monitoring body to supervise his country's uranium-enrichment program and ensure that the finished product, which the Iranians say is for peaceful purposes only, is not used to produce nuclear arms. "
In truth the monitoring body IAEA already exists but the Iranian proposal does contain a semblance of compromise, and will presumably allow the board of governors of the IAEA, to again put off making a decision - one that has been put off repeatedly for more than a year now.
"Opposing voices are coming from
In "UN Security Council, there is no chance of the body imposing sanctions on Tehran - both due to the oil crisis that such a decision could spur, and because Russia and China would veto such a move.
As the West does not have majority at the IAEA meeting, they settled on asking
The only valid basis to take
Wrote Dilip Hero recently,"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, according to a recent estimate by British Petroleum, oil consumption in
"By design or accident, Iran has positioned itself as a champion of the third world, with the courage and conviction to stand up to the Western powers. This has won it quiet admiration from many
Nothing seems to be more important than
It has became clear that if at the forthcoming IAEA board meeting if India did not support the US move , the US Congress would not change its domestic laws to facilitate the sale of civil nuclear energy equipment and technology to India. It was a Republican Congressman from California, Tom Lantos , a member of the India-US Caucus who while supporting the move to sell US nuclear power reactors and technology to India, made it conditional on India showing "a degree of reciprocity", specifically on the US effort to isolate Iran.
What is deeply worrying that Lantos' views were echoed by virtually all members of the House International Relations Committee, cutting across party lines, many members of the India Caucus in the House? If this was how
Was Lantos' outburst "a maverick effort or was it orchestrated by the White House to mount pressure on Delhi, without harming the teflon coating of shared values and enduring relations that Bush had worked so diligently to create? If it's the latter, then what could
Apart from danger of becoming almost a lame duck President, the
Indians who look on US strategic relationship with dreamy eyes might look at the state US led West has reduced Pakistan to .India might also look at the fate of USA's decades old Nato ally Turkey, where both needed and still need each other and to what extent to rely on USA .A Turkish Deputy Prime Minister told the author, who spent nearly ten years in two tenures as diplomat in Ankara."Mr Ambassador, you can not trust the Americans, even on what they give you in writing."
The recent meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Israel in Istanbul with encouragement from Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan could perhaps be the beginning of a far reaching developments-post Hyper power USA 's system now exposed at home by Hurricane Katrina while the Iraqi quagmire is deepening. In post
It was a year after the US invasion of Iraq that Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Barak told Vice President Dick Cheney that USA had messed it up in Iraq and had no back up plan either . The fate of the region may not be decided by Turkey, Israel,
In 1995 when Dr AQ Khan visited
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who met with
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
It is therefore time for
It has not dawned on
Relations can be hostile between Muslim states as can be seen in the Arab world .Nearer India ,let us take majority Sunni Pakistan and Shia Iran .During 1980s there was a papered over joint front against USSR in Afghanistan, but underneath there were tremendous differences and enmity, which led to open brutal warfare after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1989.Since then Iran and Pakistan supported by Saudi Arabia kept up proxy battles supporting different Mujahidin groups in Afghanistan till now , while Saudi Arabia and Iran support to Sunni and Shia extremists in Pakistan.
To whatever extent Pakistan and Turkey remain attached to USA and NATO, it is because of Russia lurking in the background .Iran with this oil wealth is now well-placed economically and could become the avant grade of the East in the progressive confrontation which US led West is mounting, with Russia and China openly backing Iran on the nuclear issue .In the energy sector both China and India need Iran. Nuclear Pakistan's relationship with the Russia would remains undefined, while Russia benefits by strengthening Iran.
Musharraf, a key US ally in the Indian sub-continent, has been gradually moving toward conciliation with
While , there has been no comment from Tehran, a source close to the new government of Ahmadinejad said, "They are shocked to the point of being choked off," referring to the Iranian leaders. "As usual, when Iranian officials are jolted and horrified to the point of being astounded at some news they are not ready for, they keep silent until the oracle comes from the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini," the source added, speaking on condition of not being named.
"As a result of a foolish diplomacy based on the destruction of
To dispel fears of
"Ironically, those who have actually used nuclear weapons, continue to produce, stockpile and extensively test such weapons ... [and] are not only refusing to remedy their past deeds, but in clear breach of the NPT, are trying to prevent other countries from acquiring the technology to produce peaceful nuclear energy."
The offer to share nuclear technology has "changed the dynamics," says Mr. Khajehpour, because "some Western players now see more reason to stop
Still, the offer has set off alarm bells in Western capitals. "That's red meat for anyone concerned with nonproliferation and security threats," and may prove to be "another bargaining chip to give away," says Natalie Goldring, at the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in Washington.
But the inability of the
"We've given the message to
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his opening address at the UN session said that the consensus underlying the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was badly frayed but nations would rather point fingers at each other than work for solutions. "We face growing risks of proliferation and catastrophic terrorism, and the stakes are too high to continue down a dangerous path of diplomatic brinkmanship," he said.
Henry Kissinger gets hillibilies;
The cold warier who called Indira Gandhi and Indians names in a meeting with President Nixon , thinks that if Bush's first term was dominated by the war against terrorism, the second would be preoccupied with the effort to stem the spread of nuclear weapons.
"This challenge is more complex than the first. Do we oppose proliferation because of the rogue quality of the two regimes -
"During the Cold War, all of the principals who might have to decide on the issue of nuclear war faced the dilemma that such a decision could involve millions of casualties, yet a demonstrated willingness to run this risk was necessary if the world was not to be turned over to totalitarians. "
""All Cold War administrations navigated these shoals. Deterrence worked because there were only two main players in the world. Each made comparable assessments of the perils to them of the use of nuclear weapons.
"But as nuclear weapons spread, the calculus of deterrence grows increasingly ephemeral. It becomes ever more difficult to decide who is deterring whom and by what calculations." Finally, the experience with the proliferation network demonstrates the consequences to the international order of the spread of nuclear weapons even when the proliferating country does not meet the formal criteria of rogue state.
"For these reasons, it is the fact, not the provenance, of further proliferation that needs to be resisted. The loathsomeness of a regime that undertakes proliferation compounds the problem and provides a sense of urgency, but in this analysis it is not the decisive factor. We should oppose nuclear proliferation even to a democratic
"How do we prevent the diplomatic process from turning into a means to legitimise proliferation rather than avert it? We must never forget that failure will usher in a new set of nuclear perils dwarfing those that we have just surmounted."
Recently the doddering warrior , accused by many as a war criminal ,was put on an American Channel .The very idea of
In 1970s when my son in school first learnt what getting hillbilly's means, a good actor, he tried to express it by facial and voice contortions like some cartoon characters. But he was no match for Henry Kissinger's act of fear, which most of the world or any one "who is not with us, is against us" has lived with, since
(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to