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Author Topic: Nuclear War, WMD issues  (Read 148476 times)
Power User
Posts: 42512

« Reply #250 on: November 25, 2011, 01:06:25 AM »

Well, some of us here HAVE been discussing action against Pakistan.

As for the Norks, the answer is two fold, they are too hard a nut to crack and-- I am open to correction here-- they are not plotting to wipe out the Sorks or anyone else.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #251 on: November 25, 2011, 06:56:26 AM »

Iran has been waging a war against the US since 1979. Until 9/11, Iran's proxy warfare construct, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist entity. You think they wouldn't consider a nuke attack against us? This is a nation that glories in bloody martyrdom and jihad and chants "Death to the Great Satan", meaning us.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #252 on: November 25, 2011, 07:34:21 AM »

Let's do nothing while Iran finishes up it's nuclear program.....

Ahmadinejad's demons

National Post ·

During the Iran-Iraq War, the Ayatollah Khomeini imported 500,000 small plastic keys from Taiwan. The trinkets were meant to be inspirational. After Iraq invaded in September, 1980, it had quickly become clear that Iran's forces were no match for Saddam Hussein's professional, well-armed military. To compensate for their disadvantage, Khomeini sent Iranian children, some as young as 12 years old, to the front lines. There, they marched in formation across minefields toward the enemy, clearing a path with their bodies. Before every mission, one of the Taiwanese keys would be hung around each child's neck. It was supposed to open the gates to paradise for them.

These children who marched to their deaths were part of the Basiji, a mass movement created by Khomeini in 1979. This volunteer militia went enthusiastically, and by the thousands, to their own destruction. According to one veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, "It was sometimes like a race. Even without the commander's orders, everyone wanted to be first."

The sacrifice of the Basiji was ghastly. And yet, today, it is a source of growing pride. Since the end of hostilities against Iraq in 1988, the Basiji have grown both in numbers and influence. They have been deployed, above all, as a vice squad to enforce religious law in Iran, and their elite "special units" have been used as shock troops against anti-government forces. Last year, they formed the potent core of the political base that propelled Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a man who reportedly served as a Basij instructor during the Iran-Iraq War -- to the presidency.

Ahmadinejad revels in his alliance with the Basiji. He regularly appears in public wearing a black-and-white Basij scarf, and, in his speeches, he routinely praises "Basij power." Ahmadinejad's ascendance on the shoulders of the Basiji means that the Iranian Revolution, launched almost three decades ago, has entered a new and disturbing phase. A younger generation of Iranians, whose worldviews were forged in the atrocities of the Iran-Iraq War, have come to power, wielding a more fervently ideological approach to politics than their predecessors.

Most Basiji came from the countryside and were often illiterate. When their training was done, each Basiji received a blood-red headband that designated him a volunteer for martyrdom.

The chief combat tactic employed by the Basiji was the human wave attack, whereby barely armed children and teenagers would move continuously toward the enemy in perfectly straight rows. It did not matter whether they fell to enemy fire or detonated the mines with their bodies. Once a path to the Iraqi forces had been opened up, Iranian commanders would send in their more valuable and skilled Revolutionary Guard troops.

"They come toward our positions in huge hordes with their fists swinging," one Iraqi officer complained in the summer of 1982. "You can shoot down the first wave and then the second. But at some point the corpses are piling up in front of you, and all you want to do is scream and throw away your weapon. Those are human beings, after all!"

Why did the Basiji volunteer for such duty? Most were recruited by members of the Revolutionary Guards, which commanded the Basiji. These "special educators" would visit schools and handpick their martyrs from the paramilitary exercises in which all Iranian youth were required to participate. Propaganda films -- like the 1986 TV film A Contribution to the War -- praised this alliance between students and the regime, and undermined those parents who tried to save their children's lives.

In 1982, the German weekly Der Spiegel documented the story of a 12-year-old boy named Hossein, who enlisted with the Basiji despite having polio: "One day, some unknown imams turned up in the village. They called the whole population to the plaza in front of the police station, and they announced that they came with good news: The Islamic Army of Iran had been chosen to liberate the holy city Al-Quds -- Jerusalem -- from the infidels .... The local mullah had decided that every family with children would have to furnish one soldier of God. Because Hossein was the most easily expendable for his family, and because, in light of his illness, he could in any case not expect much happiness in this life, he was chosen by his father to represent the family in the struggle." (Of the 20 children that went into battle with Hossein, only he and two others survived.)

At the beginning of the war, Iran's ruling mullahs did not send human beings into the minefields, but rather animals: donkeys, horses and dogs. But the tactic proved useless: "After a few donkeys had been blown up, the rest ran off in terror," Mostafa Arki reports in his book Eight Years of War in the Middle East.

The donkeys reacted normally -- fear of death is natural. The Basiji, on the other hand, marched fearlessly to their deaths. The curious slogans that they chanted while entering the battlefields are of note: "Against the Yazid of our time!"; "Hussein's caravan is moving on!"; "A new Karbala awaits us!"

Yazid, Hussein, Karbala -- these are all references to the founding myth of Shia Islam. In the late seventh century, Islam was split between those loyal to the Caliph Yazid -- the predecessors of Sunni Islam -- and the founders of Shia Islam, who thought that the Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, should govern the Muslims. In 680, Hussein led an uprising against the "illegitimate" caliph, but he was betrayed. On the plain of Karbala, Yazid's forces attacked Hussein and his entourage and killed them. Hussein's corpse bore the marks of 33 lance punctures and 34 blows of the sword.

His head was cut off and his body was trampled by horses. Ever since, the martyrdom of Hussein has formed the core of Shia theology, and the Ashura Festival that commemorates his death is Shiism's holiest day. On that day, men beat themselves with their fists or flagellate themselves with iron chains to approximate Hussein's sufferings.

At times throughout the centuries, the ritual has grown obscenely violent. In his study Crowds and Power, Elias Canetti recounts a first-hand report of the Ashura Festival as it occurred in mid-19th-century Tehran:

"500,000 people, in the grip of delirium, cover their heads with ashes and beat their foreheads against the ground. They want to subject themselves voluntarily to torments: to commit suicide en masse, to mutilate themselves with refinement ... Hundreds of men in white shirts come by, their faces ecstatically raised toward the sky. Of these, several will be dead this evening."

During the Iran-Iraq War, Khomeini took this inward-directed fervour and channelled it toward the external enemy. He transformed the passive lamentation into active protest. He made the Battle of Karbala the prototype of any fight against tyranny. On the one hand, the scoundrel Yazid, now in the form of Saddam Hussein; on the other, the Prophet's grandson, Hussein, for whose suffering the time of Shia revenge had finally come.

The power of this story was reinforced by a theological twist that Khomeini gave it. According to Khomeini, life is worthless and death is the beginning of genuine existence. This latter world is accessible to martyrs: Their death is no death, but merely the transition from this world to the world beyond, where they will live on eternally and in splendour.

Military victories are secondary, Khomeini explained in September, 1980. The Basiji must "understand that he is a 'soldier of God' for whom it is not so much the outcome of the conflict as the mere participation in it that provides fulfilment and gratification."

For those whose courage still waned in the face of death, the regime put on a show. A mysterious horseman on a magnificent steed would suddenly appear on the front lines. His face -- covered in phosphorus -- would shine. His costume was that of a medieval prince.

A child soldier, Reza Behrouzi, whose story was documented in 1985 by the French writer Freidoune Sehabjam, reported that the soldiers reacted with a mixture of panic and rapture: "Everyone wanted to run toward the horseman. But he drove them away. 'Don't come to me!' he shouted, 'Charge into battle against the infidels! ... Revenge the death of our Imam Hussein and strike down the progeny of Yazid!' "

The mysterious apparition who was able to trigger such emotions is the "hidden imam," a mythical figure who influences Ahmadinejad to this day.

The Shia call all the male descendants of the Prophet Muhammad "imams" and ascribe to them a quasi-divine status. Hussein, who was killed at Karbala by Yazid, was the third Imam. His son and grandson were the fourth and fifth. At the end of this line, there is the "Twelfth Imam," who is named Muhammad.

Some call him the Mahdi (the "divinely guided one"). He was born in 869, the only son of the eleventh Imam. In 874, he disappeared without a trace, thereby bringing Muhammad's lineage to a close. In Shia mythology, however, the Twelfth Imam survived. The Shia believe that he merely withdrew from public view when he was five and that he will emerge from his "occultation" in order to liberate the world from evil.

In Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey, V. S. Naipaul described seeing posters in post-Revolutionary Tehran bearing motifs similar to those of Maoist China: crowds, for instance, with rifles and machine guns raised in the air as if in greeting. The posters always bore the same phrase: "Twelfth imam, we are waiting for you."

According to Shia tradition, legitimate Islamic rule can only be established following the twelfth imam's reappearance.

Khomeini, however, had no intention of waiting. He vested the myth with an entirely new sense: The Twelfth Imam will emerge only when the believers have vanquished evil. To speed up the Mahdi's return, Muslims had to shake off their torpor and fight.

It was this culture that nurtured Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's worldview. Born outside Tehran in 1956, the son of blacksmith, he trained as a civil engineer and, during the Iran-Iraq War, he joined the Revolutionary Guards.

His biography remains strangely elliptical. Did he play a role in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, as some charge? What exactly did he do during the war? We have no definite answers.

We do know that after the war's end, he served as the governor of Ardebil Province and as an organizer of Ansar-e Hezbollah, a radical gang of violent Islamic vigilantes. After becoming mayor of Tehran in April, 2003, Ahmadinejad used his position to build up a strong network of radical Islamic fundamentalists. It was in that role that he won his reputation -- and popularity -- as a hardliner devoted to rolling back the liberal reforms of then-President Muhammad Khatami.

Ahmadinejad positioned himself as the leader of a "second revolution" to eradicate corruption and Western influences from Iranian society. And the Basiji, whose numbers had grown dramatically since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, embraced him.

Recruited from the more conservative and impoverished parts of the population, the Basiji fall under the direction of -- and swear absolute loyalty to -- the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Khomeini's successor. During Ahmadinejad's run for the presidency in 2005, the millions of Basiji -- in every Iranian town, neighbourhood, and mosque -- became his unofficial campaign workers.

As Basij ideology and influence enjoy a renaissance under Ahmadinejad, the movement's belief in the virtues of violent self-sacrifice remains intact. Since 2004, the mobilization of Iranians for suicide brigades has intensified, with recruits being trained for foreign missions. Thus, a special military unit has been created bearing the name "Commando of Voluntary Martyrs." According to its own statistics, this force has so far recruited some 52,000 Iranians to the suicidal cause. It aims to form a "martyrdom unit" in every Iranian province.

The Basiji's cult of self-destruction would be chilling in any country. In the context of the Iranian nuclear program, however, its obsession with martyrdom amounts to a lit fuse. Nowadays, Basiji are sent not into the desert, but rather into the laboratory. Basij students are encouraged to enroll in technical and scientific disciplines. According to a spokesperson for the Revolutionary Guard, the aim is to use the "technical factor" in order to augment "national security."

What exactly does that mean? Consider that in December, 2001, former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani explained that "the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything." On the other hand, if Israel responded with its own nuclear weapons, it "will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality."

Rafsanjani thus spelled out a macabre cost-benefit analysis. It might not be possible to destroy Israel without suffering retaliation. But, for Islam, the level of damage Israel could inflict is bearable -- only 100,000 or so additional martyrs for Islam.

And Rafsanjani is a member of the moderate, pragmatic wing of the Iranian Revolution; he believes that any conflict ought to have a "worthwhile" outcome. Ahmadinejad, by contrast, is predisposed toward apocalyptic thinking. In one of his first TV interviews after being elected president, he enthused: "Is there an art that is more beautiful, more divine, more eternal than the art of the martyr's death?" In September, 2005, he concluded his first speech before the United Nations by imploring God to bring about the return of the Twelfth Imam.

A politics pursued in alliance with a supernatural force is necessarily unpredictable. Why should an Iranian president engage in pragmatic politics when his assumption is that, in three or four years, the saviour will appear? If the messiah is coming, why compromise? That is why, up to now, Ahmadinejad has pursued confrontational policies with evident pleasure.

The history of the Basiji shows that we must expect monstrosities from the current Iranian regime. Already, what began in the early 1980s with the clearing of minefields by human detonators has spread throughout the Middle East, as suicide bombing has become the terrorist tactic of choice. And the Basiji who once upon a time wandered the desert armed only with a walking stick is today working as a chemist in a uranium enrichment facility.

- Matthias Kuntzel is a political scientist in Hamburg, Germany and author of Djihad und Judenhass (Jihad and Jew-Hatred).
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 08:54:33 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #253 on: November 25, 2011, 09:07:09 AM »

Well, some of us here HAVE been discussing action against Pakistan.

As for the Norks, the answer is two fold, they are too hard a nut to crack and-- I am open to correction here-- they are not plotting to wipe out the Sorks or anyone else.

I have read with interest comments on Pakistan (I've said before I particularly enjoy Ya's comments), but frankly I doubt if we will do anything nor does it seem on a national scale are we discussing doing anything.

As for Korea, yes, they are a hard nut to crack, however the rhetoric seems to go up and down.  The North has promised to wipe out the South plus a few nearby allies of ours.  Just this week.

And while GM points out, "Iran has been waging a war against the US since 1979." I don't think they have killed one American on American soil.  Nor do they have the delivery system to do so.
And "proxy" is not the same... as Iran attacking America.

That said, the world would be better off if Korea, Pakistan and Iran didn't have WMD.  Frankly, I wish China and Russia didn't have nuclear weapons either.  But I'm not sure it's in America's interest to physically attack (diplomacy and sanctions are fine) any of them, including Iran.  The cost to America would be prohibitive.  And the direct threat to America is minimal.

Power User
Posts: 42512

« Reply #254 on: November 25, 2011, 10:46:23 AM »

 The logic of Mutually Assured Destruction works with the Russians and Chinese.  I'm quite a bit less sure about that with the Ayatollahs and Mullahs see e.g. GM's post immediately prior to yours for but one example.

Agreed that Team Baraq is not likely to do anything about Pakistan, nor would your man Huntsman  tongue.  Newt just might though  grin  Agreed that little has been done (apart from here and the sources YA cites) to persuade and prepare the political will necessary to act viz Pakistan--indeed I have been arguing here for several years that our policy is incoherent-- my point was that we here are not being inconsistent with regard to this.
Power User
Posts: 9481

« Reply #255 on: November 25, 2011, 11:04:03 AM »

Conservatives here voiced quite a bit of support for John Bolton's view advising strikes against N.K. nukes as well as stopping Iran.  The N.K. threat is different  and more complicated because of having its big brother China on the doorstep, not to mention you can see the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet from North Korea's northern-most coastal border.  Who is Iran's big brother keeping them contained, the new government of Iraq??  Pakistan is its own unique case and I hope we are working through all the options of when and how to take action and contain its dangers.  I don't see how recent failures of our policies toward NK and Pak make failure in Iran more desirable.

In the history of the world in our lifetimes, Israel struck a Saddam reactor in Ozarik 1981 and a 'military site' in Syria in 2007 and the French played a lead role in deposing Kadafy.  Not much else ever happens in non-proliferation enforcement or tyrant/terrorist abatement without the U.S. taking the lead or unilateral role.  

A similar line of defeatist thinking was used in the unsuccessful argument against deposing Saddam Hussein, we shouldn't take down Saddam because we did nothing here and nothing there around the globe.  That logic escapes me.  How does our inaction or failure in N.K, Pakistan or anywhere else help with the question facing us right now, what is the right thing to do about the threat posed by Iran who according to most reports is about to become a real nuclear power right now under our watch.

"I don't think they [Iran] have killed one American on American soil."  And this: "the direct threat to America is minimal".

Inventing a category to find them innocent and why is there a qualifier on the threat to America?!  If they are our enemy by their choosing, co-conspiring in thousands of American deaths and causing a war to be years longer than it needed to be, they are a threat.  If they are developing nuclear and extending the range of delivery systems as a declared enemy of the United States, they are a threat.  If they earned the distinction of being the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism, they are a threat.  If their delivery systems could hit locations where we have security agreements, they are a threat.  These security relationships were formed precisely with this thinking in mind: we will not wait ever again for enemies to land on our shores to begin our action.  GM already wrote: "Iran has been waging a war against the US since 1979".  I would add that if they choose to be our enemy and act on it, then the feeling is necessarily mutual.  There should be a price to pay for being an active and declared enemy of the United States.  Having your nuclear proliferation facilities taken out in air strikes seems like a pretty natural consequence to supporting a war effort against the US while declaring yourselves a new nuclear power to be dealt with.  To not do so is what sends the message of weakness that makes the next war more likely and more costly.

Stopping Iran at this point IS a step forward in stopping N.K., just as vice versa would have been - using the same logic presented - why aren't we treating them the same.  Stopping both programs is a step forward in focusing attention on larger threats inside Pakistan.  To allow threats to grow and develop right while we have reason, justification and perhaps opportunity to take action is exactly what has landed us in this triple threat situation, IMHO.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 11:07:48 AM by DougMacG » Logged
Power User
Posts: 7835

« Reply #256 on: November 25, 2011, 02:36:49 PM »

"To allow threats to grow and develop right while we have reason, justification and perhaps opportunity to take action is exactly what has landed us in this triple threat situation, IMHO."

Bolton was on a few days ago and agreed that if Iran gets nucs so will S. Arabia, Turkey, Egypt go after them.
It doesn't seem like anyone knows if Israel can do it or not.   Only Israel knows what it has and only Iran knows what it has.

Didn't the nuclear holocaust in the movie "The Day After" start with nuclear devices going off in the Middle East?

I remember not being able to sleep that night after watching the movie.

The doctrine of mutually assured destruction doesn't fit this situation like it did between USA USSR when we had two superpowers with more rational leaders and more or less equal capability.

Now we have disprotionate foes.
Power User
Posts: 42512

« Reply #257 on: November 25, 2011, 02:46:25 PM »

4th Generation nuclear war games with people who believe in death more than life. 

What could go wrong?
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #258 on: November 25, 2011, 03:23:17 PM »

4th Generation nuclear war games with people who believe in death more than life. 

What could go wrong?

Don't worry, JDN has pointed out that because Iran has never nuked the US before, it's proof it'll never happen in the future as well.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #259 on: December 04, 2011, 01:02:56 AM »

4th Generation nuclear war games with people who believe in death more than life. 

What could go wrong?

Don't worry, JDN has pointed out that because Iran has never nuked the US before, it's proof it'll never happen in the future as well.

Iran Showed Al Qaeda How to Bomb Embassies

9:45 AM, Dec 3, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN

In a little noticed ruling on Monday, November 28, a Washington, D.C. district court found that both Iran and Sudan were culpable for al Qaeda’s 1998 embassy bombings. As is typical in state sponsorship of terrorism cases, neither Iran nor Sudan answered the plaintiffs’ accusations. But in a 45-page decision, Judge John D. Bates issued a default judgment. The court found that the “government of the Islamic Republic of Iran…has a long history of providing material aid and support to terrorist organizations including al Qaeda,” which “claimed responsibility for the August 7, 1998 embassy bombings.”

Judge Bates continued (citations omitted, emphasis added):

Iran had been the preeminent state sponsor of terrorism against United States interests for decades. Throughout the 1990s – at least – Iran regarded al Qaeda as a useful tool to destabilize U.S. interests. As discussed in detail below, the government of Iran aided, abetted and conspired with Hezbollah, Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda to launch large-scale bombing attacks against the United States by utilizing the sophisticated delivery mechanism of powerful suicide truck bombs. Hezbollah, a terrorist organization based principally in Lebanon, had utilized this type of bomb in the devastating 1983 attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to their meetings with Iranian officials and agents, Bin Laden and al Qaeda did not possess the technical expertise required to carry out the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The Iranian defendants, through Hezbollah, provided explosives training to Bin Laden and al Qaeda and rendered direct assistance to al Qaeda operatives. Hence, for the reasons discussed below the Iranian defendants provided material aid and support to al Qaeda for the 1998 embassy bombings and are liable for damages suffered by the plaintiffs.
The court further explained (citations omitted, emphasis added):

Following the meetings that took place between representatives of Hezbollah and al Qaeda in Sudan in the early to mid-1990s, Hezbollah and Iran agreed to provide advanced training to a number of al Qaeda members, including shura council members, at Hezbollah training camps in South Lebanon. Saif al-Adel, the head of al Qaeda security, trained in Hezbollah camps. During this time period, several other senior al Qaeda operatives trained in Iran and in Hezbollah training camps in Lebanon. After one of the training sessions at a Lebanese Hezbollah camp, al Qaeda operatives connected to the Nairobi bombing, including a financier and a bomb-maker, returned to Sudan with videotapes and manuals “specifically about how to blow up large buildings.”

None of this should come as a surprise. In Iran’s Proxy War Against America (PDF), I summarized the evidence demonstrating Iran’s and Hezbollah’s complicity in the 1998 embassy bombings.

Federal prosecutors in the Clinton administration found Iran’s hand in the embassy bombings as they prepared to try some of the terrorists responsible. They even included the relationship with Iran and Hezbollah in their original indictments of al Qaeda.

In his plea hearing before a New York court in 2000, Ali Mohamed – the al Qaeda operative who was responsible for performing surveillance used for the bombings – testified that he set up the security for a meeting between bin Laden and Hezbollah’s terror master, Imad Mugniyah. “I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s chief, and bin Laden,” Mohamed told the court. (My profile of Mugniyah and his ties to al Qaeda, published after his death in 2008, can be read here.) 
Mohamed also confirmed that Hezbollah and Iran provided explosives training to al Qaeda. “Hezbollah provided explosives training for al Qaeda and [Egyptian Islamic] Jihad,” Mohamed explained. “Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons.”
Mohamed was forthcoming about al Qaeda’s rationale for seeking Iran’s and Hezbollah’s assistance:

And the objective of all this, just to attack any Western target in the Middle East, to force the government of the Western countries just to pull out from the Middle East. . . .Based on the Marine explosion in Beirut in 1984 [sic: 1983] and the American pull-out from Beirut, they will be the same method, to force the United States to pull out from Saudi Arabia.
Jamal al Fadl, an al Qaeda operative who was privy to some of al Qaeda’s most sensitive secrets, conversed with his fellow al Qaeda members about Iran’s and Hezbollah’s explosives training, which included take-home videotapes so that al Qaeda’s operatives would not forget what they learned. Al Fadl told federal prosecutors, “I saw one of the tapes, and he [another al Qaeda operative] tell me they train about how to explosives big buildings.”

When the 9/11 Commission investigated the embassy bombings years later, it also found Iran’s and Hezbollah’s hands in the attack. See, in particular, pages 61 and 68 of the commission’s final report.
To recap: A D.C. district court, Clinton-era prosecutors, and the 9/11 Commission have all found that al Qaeda received assistance from Iran and Hezbollah in executing the 1998 embassy bombings. The bombings were al Qaeda’s most successful attack prior to September 11, 2001.

And yet, many in the foreign policy establishment pretend that Iran and al Qaeda are either incapable of collusion or opposed to one another in some meaningful sense. The truth is that they have long cooperated against America.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

**I can already anticipate "But those were conventional explosives".....
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #260 on: December 06, 2011, 08:37:16 AM »,7340,L-4157460,00.html

'Saudi Arabia may join nuclear arms race'

Ex-spy chief says Saudi Arabia to consider acquiring atom weapons to match region rivals Israel, Iran

AFP Published:  12.05.11, 19:15 / Israel News 

Saudi Arabia may consider acquiring nuclear weapons to match regional rivals Israel and Iran, its former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said on Monday.


"Our efforts and those of the world have failed to convince Israel to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iran... therefore it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons," Faisal told a security forum in Riyadh.


Related stories:

'Iran's missile program suffered serious setback'
Iran sanctions pose legal conundrum for expats
'We'll give up nukes if Iran does same'


"A (nuclear) disaster befalling one of us would affect us all," said Faisal.


Israel is widely held to possess hundreds of nuclear missiles, which it neither confirms nor denies, while the West accuses Iran of seeking an atomic bomb, a charge the Islamic Republic rejects.


Riyadh, which has repeatedly voiced fears about the nuclear threat posed by Shiite-dominated Iran and denounced Israel's atomic capacity, has stepped up efforts to develop its own nuclear power for "peaceful use."


Abdul Ghani Malibari, coordinator at the Saudi civil nuclear agency, said in June that Riyadh plans to build 16 civilian nuclear reactors in the next two decades at a cost of 300 billion riyals ($80 billion).


He said the Sunni kingdom would launch an international invitation to tender for the reactors to be used in power generation and desalination in the desert kingdom.


The United Nations has imposed successive packages of sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. Those measures have been backed up by unilateral Western sanctions.
Power User
Posts: 42512

« Reply #261 on: December 18, 2011, 03:45:00 PM »

Pasting PC's post here as well:

By Manuel Cereijo

Dr. Miyar Barruecos, El Chomi. Dr. Luis Herrera. Cuba and Iran.
Since 1990, Cuba and Iran have cooperated in the development of weapons of massive destruction. Dr. Miyar Barruecos, physician, very close to Castro, has been the force behind the throne in this alliance. Dr. Luis Herrera, from the CIGB, and one of the main scientists in the development of the CIGB and the biological weapon programs in Cuba, has been the operator, the facilitator, in the massive and huge cooperation between Cuba and Iran.

Cuba just finished, May 2001, the construction of a Biotechnology Center in Teheran. Cuba served as the source of technology, selling of equipment, and project management for the Center.

Iran has bought the best fruits of the CIGB, recombinant protein production technologies in yeast and Escherichia coli, as well as the large scale purification protocols for both soluble and insoluble proteins synthesized in or excreted by them.Iran can use these technologies to create bioweapons of massive destruction.

Iran, with Cuba's assistance, is capable of producing the bacteria known as Pseudomonas. The pathogen is not usually lethal to humans, however, produces partial paralysis for a period of time, and therefore but is an excellent battlefield weapon.

Sprayed from a single airplane flying over enemy lines, it can immobilized an entire division or incapacitate special forces hiding in rugged terrain otherwise inaccessible to regular army troops-precisely the kind of terrain in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and similar terrorist regions.

Besides Cuban scientists, at least there are about ten scientists from the Biopreparat Russian Center working in Iran. The New York Times reported in December 1998 that the Iranian government dispatched a few scientific advisors attached to the office of the presidency in Moscow to recruit former scientists from the Russian program.

In May, 1997, more than one hundred scientists from Russian laboratories, including Vector and Obolensk, attended a Biotechnology Trade Fair in Teheran. Iranians visited Vector, In Russia, a number of times, and had been actively promoting exchanges. A vial of freeze-dried powder takes up less space than a pack of cigarettes and is easy to smuggle past an inattentive security guard.

The Soviet Union spent decades building institutes and training centers in Iran and Cuba. For many years, the Soviet Union organized courses in genetic engineering and molecular biology for scientists from Cuba and Iran. Some forty scientists from both countries were trained annually.

In 1997 Russia was reported to be negotiating a lucrative deal with Iran and Cuba for the sale of cultivation equipment including fermenters, reactors, and air purifying machinery.

A report submitted by the U.S. Office of Technological Assessment to hearings at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in late 1995 identified 17 countries believed to possess biological weapons. Among them: Cuba and Iran.

The Cuba/Iran alliance posses a real threat to the national security of the United States.

Dr. Rodrigo Alvarez Cambra. The main coordinator of the alliance.

Viruses and bacteria can be obtained from more than fifteen hundred microbe banks around the world. The international scientific community depends on this network for medical research and for the exchange of information vital to the fight against disease.

According to American biowarfare experts, Iraq obtained some of its most lethal strains of anthrax from the American Type Culture Collection in Rockville, Maryland, one of the world's largest libraries of microorganisms. For $35 they also pick up strains of tularemia and Venezuelan equine encephalitis, once targeted for weaponization at Fort Detrick, United States.

Iraq was also given by the CDC the West Nile virus in the late 1980s. At the same type, the CDC gave Cuba the St. Louis encephalitis virus, very similar to the West Nile virus. Since the 1980s, Cuba and Iraq established very close relations. This was partially due to Dr. Rodrigo Alvarez Cambra, a well known orthopedic surgeon, who has operated on Hussein's knee, and also has treated other members of his family, including one of his sons.

By early 1990s, Iraq had provided Cuba with anthrax, for its further development. A report submitted by the U.S. Office of Technological Assessment to hearings at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in late 1995 identified seventeen countries believed to posses biological weapons-Libya, North Korea, South Korea, Iraq, Taiwan, Syria, Israel, China, Egypt, Vietnam, Laos Bulgaria, India, South Africa, Russia, and Cuba.

At the time Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, defected in 1995, he not only denounced Iraq activities in these weapons of massive destruction, but also the close relationship of Iraq, first with the former Soviet Union, and presently with Cuba. Yury Kalinin , one of the most important persons in Russia's biological development, visited Cuba in 1990 to establish in Cuba the Biocen, a Center very similar to Russia's Biopreparat. He acknowledged at the time, the involvement of Cuba in biological weapon development. Some 25 Cuban scientists were periodically trained in the Soviet Union from 1986 to 1992.

Furthermore, Cuba has advanced tremendously in the area of nano-technology, an essential tool in the development of bio-weapons, and computer related technology. Fidel Castro Diaz Balart, Castro's oldest son, and former head of Cuba's nuclear program, visited India and Iraq to strengthen collaboration on this vital area.

Castro visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASSR) in October, 2000. Cuba and India agreed in collaboration on areas like biotechnology, tropical medicine, nano technology and computational technology.

Prof. V. Krishnan, JNCASR President said Cuba had tremendous advancement in biotechnology and nanotechnology. After his visit to India. Castro Diaz Balart visited Iraq and Iran.

The Cuba/Iraq cooperation is the most important threat faced by the United States in this fight against terrorism.

The fall of communism has not reduced the level or amount of espionage and other serious intelligence activity conducted against the United States. The targets have not changed at all: there is still a deadly serious foreign interest, and mainly from the new China/Cuba consortium, in traditional intelligence activities such as penetrating the U.S. intelligence community, collecting classified information on U.S. military defense systems, and purloining the latest advances in the nation's science and technology sector.

There is also a growing importance in maintaining the integrity of the country;s information infrastructure. Our growing dependence on computer networks and telecommunications has made the U.S. increasingly vulnerable to possible cyber attacks against such targets as military war rooms, power plants, telephone networks, air traffic control centers and banks. China and Cuba have increased their cooperation in this area through the Bejucal base in Cuba, as well as in Wajay (near Bejucal), and Santiago de Cuba. On these bases they use technologically sophisticated equipment, as well as new intelligence methodologies that makes it more difficult, or impossible for U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor or detect.

The international terrorism threat can be divided into three general categories. Each poses a serious and distinct threat, and each has a presence already in the United States. The most important category is the state sponsored threat. This category, according to the FBI, includes the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Lybia, Cuba, North Korea. Put simply, these nations view terrorism as a tool of foreign policy. In view of this list, we need to evaluate the recent trip made by Fidel Castro.

There are three main areas of concern for us in the new and dangerous axis formed by China and Cuba: radio frequency weapons, computer technology, missile capabilities. The problem with the Chinese Cuban rapprochement is that it is driven by by mutual hostility towards the United States.

Radio frequency weapons are a new radical class of weapons. Radio frequency weapons can utilize either high energy radio frequency (HERF), or low energy radio frequency(LERF) technology. HERF is advanced technology. It is based on concentrating large amounts of RF EM energy in within a small space, narrow frequency range, and a very short period of time. The result is an overpowering RF EM impulse capable of causing substantial damage to electronic components.

LERF utilizes relatively low energy, which is spread over a wide frequency spectrum. It can be no less effective in disrupting normal functioning of computers as HERF due to the wider range of frequencies it occupies. LERF does not require time compression neither high tech components. LERF impact on computers and computer networks could be devastating. The computer would go into a random output mode, that is, it is impossible to predict what the computer would do. A back up computer will not solve the problem either. One example of LERF use was the KGB's manipulation of the United States Embassy security system in Moscow in the late 80s.

Worldwide proliferation in RF weapons has increased dramatically in the last five years. The collapse of the Soviet Union is probably the most significant factor contributing to this increase in attention and concern about proliferation. The KGB has split into independent parts. One of them is referred to as FAPSI. It has been partially privatized. Spin-off companies have been created, with very attractive golden parachutes for the high officers. FAPSI, or its spin-off companies have been heavily involved in China and Cuba in RF technology, as well as computer technology.

China, PRC, has stolen design information on the United States most advanced thermonuclear weapons. The stolen information includes classified information on:

Seven U.S. thermonuclear warheads, including every currently deployed thermonuclear warhead in the U.S. ballistic missile arsenal
Classified design information for an enhanced radiation weapon (neutron bomb), which neither the USA , nor any other country has yet deployed
Classified information on state of the art reentry vehicles, and warheads, such as the W-88, a miniaturized, tapered warhead, which is the most sophisticated nuclear weapon the United States has ever built.
These and other classified information have been obtained in the last 20 years. However, the now presence in Cuba, with the use of the Bejucal base, and the proximity to the United States, makes the China/Cuba new axis a very serious threat to this nation. In 1993, a Cuban nuclear engineer, and high officer of the Cuban Intelligence military apparatus, was awarded a one year stance at Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, doing research on Physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials. The officer is, since 1999, in exile in the United States.

The PRC has acquired also technology on high performance computers(HPC). HPCs are needed for the design and testing of advanced nuclear weapons. The PRC has targeted the U.S. nuclear test data for espionage collection. This can be accomplished through the facilities in Cuba.

China'new venture in Cuba will:

Enhance China's military capability
Jeopardize U.S. national security interests
Pose a direct threat to the United States

Manuel Cereijo

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« Reply #262 on: February 10, 2012, 03:07:09 PM »

Quote from: G M on June 06, 2008, 01:59:30 PM

A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....

Report: Saudi Arabia to buy nukes if Iran tests A-bomb

Mustafa Ozer / AFP - Getty Images, file

Saudi special forces take part in a military parade in the holy city of Mecca on November 10, 2010.

By staff, NBC News and news services

Saudia Arabia would move quickly to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran successfully tests an atomic bomb, according to a report.

Citing an unidentified Saudi Arabian source, the Times newspaper in the U.K. (which operates behind a paywall) said that the kingdom would seek to buy ready-made warheads and also begin its own program to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

The paper suggested that Pakistan was the country most likely to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons, saying Western officials were convinced there was an understanding between the countries to do so if the security situation in the Persian Gulf gets worse. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have denied such an arrangement exists.
Iran, which follows the Shiite branch of Islam, and Sunni Saudi Arabia are major regional rivals.

The Times described its source for the story as a "senior Saudi," but gave no other details.

Israel uses MEK terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, US officials say

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, describes what Iranian leaders believe is a close relationship between Israel's secret service, the Mossad, and the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

"There is no intention currently to pursue a unilateral military nuclear program, but the dynamics will change immediately if the Iranians develop their own nuclear capability," the source told the newspaper. "Politically, it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom."
It also cited an unnamed Western official as saying that Saudi Arabia would ask Pakistan to honor the alleged agreement "the next day" after any Iranian nuclear bomb test.

The U.S. and other nations suspect that Iran is using its civilian nuclear work as a cover for a weapons program, but Iran insists that its nuclear ambitions are strictly peaceful. The U.S. has used sanctions and diplomacy to pressure Iran on the issue, but has long refused to rule out military action saying that all options are on the table. Israel is also believed to be contemplating a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta now believes there's a strong possibility that Israel will attack Iran in an attempt to thwart Tehran's nuclear ambitions, according to U.S. officials. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

In a statement issued Friday by the Pakistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan was quoted as saying that "each Pakistani considers (the) security of Saudi Arabia as his personal matter." Naeem also said that the Saudi leadership considered Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to be one country.
In January this year, Saudi Arabia's former ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, said in an interview with The Associated Press that unless a zone free of weapons of mass destruction was created in the Mideast there would "inevitably" be a nuclear arms race, and "that's not going to be in the favor of anybody."
He stressed that the Gulf states were committed not to acquire WMD.
"But we're not the only players in town. You have Turkey. You have Iraq which has a track record of wanting to go nuclear. You have Egypt. They had a very vibrant nuclear energy program from the 1960s. You have Syria. You have other players in the area that could open Pandora's box," the Saudi prince told The AP.

Iran envoy: We could hit US forces anywhere in world if attacked

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would maintain its commitment against acquiring WMD, Turki said: "What I suggest for Saudi Arabia and for the other Gulf states ... is that we must study carefully all the options, including the option of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. We can't simply leave it for somebody else to decide for us."

Turki is also a former Saudi intelligence chief and remains an influential member of the Saudi royal family.
Turki said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council should guarantee a nuclear security umbrella for Mideast countries that join a nuclear-free zone — and impose "military sanctions" against countries seen to be developing nuclear weapons.

"I think that's a better way of going at this issue of nuclear enrichment of uranium, or preventing Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction," he said in the AP interview.


In October, the U.S. claimed that agents linked to Iran's Qud's Force, an elite wing of the Revolutionary Guard, were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., Adel Al-Jubeir. Iran said the claims were "baseless."

Turki said in November that there was "ample and heinous" evidence that Iran was behind the alleged plot. He added that the evidence "indicates the depths of depravity and unreason to which the (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad regime has sunk."

Turki called the plot "the tip of the iceberg," saying Iran was "meddling" in the affairs of many other countries, including Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan and especially Iraq.

The Saudi government has also accused a terror cell linked to Iran of plotting to blow up its embassy in Bahrain, as well as the causeway linking the island kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

In a secret diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks, Saudi King Abdullah allegedly urged Washington to strike at Iran and "cut off the head of the snake."

Turki dismissed the cable in November, telling reporters that Saudi Arabia supported sanctions and diplomatic pressure against Iran but not a military strike.

He said military action would only stiffen Iran's resolve, rally support for the regime and at best delay, but not halt, the nuclear program. "Such an act I think would be foolish, and to undertake it I think would be tragic," he said.

The Associated Press, NBC News and staff contributed to this report.
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« Reply #263 on: February 20, 2012, 11:52:35 AM »

Any comments on the 80% cuts in our nukes trial balloons being floated by Team Baraq?
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« Reply #264 on: February 20, 2012, 02:11:18 PM »

Any comments on the 80% cuts in our nukes trial balloons being floated by Team Baraq?

His attempt to destroy this country is going as planned....
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« Reply #265 on: March 03, 2012, 02:08:46 PM »

Fearful of a nuclear Iran? The real WMD nightmare is Syria
 By Charles P. Blair | 1 March 2012

Article Highlights
 ■Syria has one of the largest and most sophisticated chemical weapons programs in the world and may also possess offensive biological weapons.
 ■Longstanding terrorist groups and newly arrived Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters from Iraq have been active in Syria during that country's recent insurgency.
 ■The United States and regional powers -- including Saudi Arabia and Iran -- need to start planning now to keep Syria's WMD out of terrorist hands if the Assad regime falls.
As possible military action against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program looms large in the public arena, far more international concern should be directed toward Syria and its weapons of mass destruction. When the Syrian uprising began more than a year ago, few predicted the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would ever teeter toward collapse. Now, though, the demise of Damascus's current leadership appears inevitable, and Syria's revolution will likely be an unpredictable, protracted, and grim affair. Some see similarities with Libya's civil war, during which persistent fears revolved around terrorist seizure of Libyan chemical weapons, or the Qaddafi regime's use of them against insurgents. Those fears turned out to be unfounded.
But the Libyan chemical stockpile consisted of several tons of aging mustard gas leaking from a half-dozen canisters that would have been impossible to utilize as weapons. Syria likely has one of the largest and most sophisticated chemical weapon programs in the world. Moreover, Syria may also possess an offensive biological weapons capability that Libya did not.
While it is uncertain whether the Syrian regime would consider using WMD against its domestic opponents, Syrian insurgents, unlike many of their Libyan counterparts, are increasingly sectarian and radicalized; indeed, many observers fear the uprising is being "hijacked" by jihadists. Terrorist groups active in the Syrian uprising have already demonstrated little compunction about the acquisition and use of WMD. In short, should Syria devolve into full-blown civil-war, the security of its WMD should be of profound concern, as sectarian insurgents and Islamist terrorist groups may stand poised to seize chemical and perhaps even biological weapons.

Read it all.
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« Reply #266 on: March 26, 2012, 11:17:28 AM »

Note the man's background at the end of the article.

In recent speeches, interviews and private meetings, President Obama has been trying hard to dissuade Israel from bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. All along, however, he's actually made it much easier for Israel to attack. The capabilities and will of Israel's military remain unclear, but the critical parts of the administration's Iran policy (plus the behavior of the Islamic Republic's ruler, Ali Khamenei) have combined to encourage the Israelis to strike.

Public statements define a president's diplomacy, and in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this month Mr. Obama intensely affirmed "Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs." He added that "no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction."

By so framing the Iranian nuclear debate, the president has forced a spotlight on two things that his administration has wanted to leave vague: the efficacy of sanctions and the quality of American intelligence on Tehran's nuclear program. The Israelis are sure to draw attention to both in the coming months.

Enlarge Image

CloseGetty Images
President Barack Obama (right) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they walk along the Colonnade of the White House, March 5.
.Given Mr. Khamanei's rejection of engagement, Mr. Obama has backed sanctions because they are the only plausible alternative to war or surrender. Ditto Congress, which has been the real driver of sanctions. But the timeline for economic coercion to work has always depended on Israeli or American military capabilities and the quality of Western intelligence. Neither factor engenders much patience.

Even the U.S. Air Force might have difficulty demolishing (with conventional explosives) the buried-beneath-a-mountain Fordow nuclear site near Qom, where the Iranian regime has been installing uranium-enrichment centrifuges. In Israel, Mr. Netanyahu and his hawkish defense minister, Ehud Barak, may have waited too long to raid this now-functioning facility; steady Iranian progress there certainly means that the Israelis must strike within months if they are serious about pre-emption.

Although the Iranian regime dreads new Western sanctions against its central bank, and especially the ejection of the Islamic Republic from the Swift international banking consortium, Tehran still has a huge advantage concerning time. Iran made around $79 billion last year from the sale of oil. Whatever the cost of its nuclear program, the regime has surely spent the vast majority of the monies required to deliver a nuclear weapon, and Tehran certainly still has the few billions required to finish producing highly enriched uranium, triggering devices, and warheads for its ballistic missiles.

Sanctions that cannot starve the nuclear program could still conceivably collapse the Iranian economy, bringing on political chaos that paralyzes the nuclear program. But if we have learned anything from the past 60 years of sanctioning nasty regimes, it is that modern authoritarian states have considerable resilience and a high threshold of pain.

Many Iran observers would like to believe that sanctions could rapidly exacerbate divisions within the regime and thereby force Tehran to negotiate an end to possible nuclear weaponization. But this scenario beggars the Iranian revolutionary identity. Mr. Khamenei has shown no willingness to halt the program. Commanders of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, who are handpicked by the supreme leader and now control much of the Iranian economy and oversee "atomic research," have not even hinted they differ with Mr. Khamenei on the nuclear question.

The sanctions-political-chaos-nuclear-paralysis scenario envisions either the supreme leader or the Revolutionary Guards abandoning nukes just when they are within grasp. To verify the cessation of the nuclear-weapons quest, so the theory goes, these men would allow the unfettered inspection of all nuclear and military sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In other words, everything Mr. Khamenei and his praetorians have worked for since 1979—the independence and pre-eminence of the Islamic Republic among Muslim states in its battle against the "world-devouring," "Islam-debasing" United States—would be for naught.

The supreme leader and his allies are acutely sensitive to the age-old Persian conception of haybat, the awe required to rule. Those who still believe in the revolution are obviously more ruthless than those who want change (hence 2009, when security forces brutalized the pro-democracy Green Movement). Whoever might want to compromise on the nuclear issue within Iran's ruling elite surely lives in fear of those who don't.

Mr. Khamenei hasn't allowed the Revolutionary Guards to expand their economic reach because he wants them to be rich—it's because he wants them to be powerful. Iran's ruling elite are in a better position to survive sanctions today than they were when President George W. Bush described them as part of an axis of evil in 2002. Sanctions are a good tool to deny Tehran resources, but as a tool to stop nuclear weapons they aren't particularly menacing. They may now have become primarily a means to stop the Israelis, not the Iranians, from achieving their desired ends.

Under presidential pressure, the CIA's traditional sentiments toward Israel—suspicion laced with hostility—have likely been forced underground. Sharing intelligence has probably become de rigueur. The Israelis (like the British and the French) now undoubtedly know what we know about the Iranian nuclear program.

It's an excellent bet that the Israelis now know that the CIA probably has no sources inside the upper reaches of the Iranian scientific establishment, Mr. Khamenei's inner circle, or the Revolutionary Guards' nuclear brigade. They know whether the National Security Agency has reliably penetrated Iran's nuclear communications, and how Iran has improved its cybersecurity since Stuxnet.

The Israelis surely know that when the administration says it has "no evidence" that Mr. Khamenei has decided to build a nuclear weapon, this really means that Washington has no solid information. That is, Washington is guessing—most likely in the spirit of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which willfully downplayed Tehran's nuclear progress.

Because of his multilateral openness with our allies, Mr. Obama has likely guaranteed that the Western intelligence consensus on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program will default to what the Israelis and French have always said is most critical to weaponization: How many centrifuges do the Iranians have running, and are they trying to hide them or put them deep underground?

The Israeli cabinet reportedly still hasn't had the great debate about launching a pre-emptive strike. Democracies always temporize when confronted with war. But that discussion is coming soon and Barack Obama—who, despite his improving efforts at bellicosity, just doesn't seem like a man who would choose war with another Muslim nation—has most likely helped Messrs. Netanyahu and Barak make the case for military action.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Iranian-targets officer in the CIA's clandestine service, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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« Reply #267 on: April 03, 2012, 01:02:25 PM »

When President Obama beseeched the Russian president to give him "space" until after the November election to deal with Moscow's concerns about U.S. missile defenses, it was with his larger objective of a world without nuclear weapons in mind. In explaining his remarks, the president said: "I want to reduce our nuclear stockpiles; and one of the barriers to doing that is building trust and cooperation around missile-defense issues."

It appears the president is willing to compromise our own missile-defense capabilities to secure Russian support for another round of nuclear-arms reductions. To accomplish that, he may have to ignore or circumvent commitments he made to Congress to secure support for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start)—among them, that he would deploy all four phases of planned U.S. missile-defense systems for Europe, and that he would modernize the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system for the protection of the U.S. homeland.

The president's re-election prospects could suffer if concessions on these systems were to be openly discussed before the election.

The Russians have made clear their concern about the range and speed of U.S. missile-defense interceptors planned for deployment later this decade, as well as American plans to base those interceptors in Poland, in Romania, and on naval vessels. In particular, the Russians decry the development of the SM-3 block IIB missile, which is planned for deployment at the beginning of the next decade. This potential missile would be the only U.S. theater missile-defense system capable of catching intercontinental-range Iranian missiles, making it important for the defense of our homeland.

Russia also wants increased involvement in actual operation of NATO missile defenses and would not want to see expansion and improvement of our existing national missile-defense system (which already has been curtailed by the president).

It is questionable whether concessions on missile defense would induce Russia to further reduce its nuclear arsenal. Unlike the U.S., Russia maintains a robust nuclear warhead production capability, and its national security strategy is to increase reliance on nuclear weapons. Russia is also modernizing ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

In addition to worrying about our missile-defense capability, the American people should question the assumptions behind the president's quest to reduce the number of nuclear weapons well below New Start Treaty levels. While in South Korea last month, President Obama said that he "can say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need."

U.S. military planners don't necessarily share that view. During Senate hearings in 2010 on the New Start Treaty, the then-Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Gen. Kevin Chilton testified that, "I think the arsenal that we have is exactly what is needed today to provide the deterrent."

Would the world be safer and more peaceful if the U.S. had fewer nuclear weapons? Is the current nuclear balance unstable? Are there incentives to strike first during a crisis? Are there pressures to increase the numbers of nuclear arms? Do our allies worry about the credibility of the U.S. nuclear umbrella?

The answer to all of these questions is "no." Yet very low numbers of deployed nuclear weapons, as the president appears to have in mind, could engender instability. Lower numbers of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces could encourage China and other nations to seek equivalence. Our allies would be less certain about American nuclear guarantees, and they would then have an incentive to develop their own nuclear arsenals.

Very low numbers could prove destabilizing during a crisis, when even small amounts of cheating could tip the balance. With a very small nuclear arsenal, we would be less able to respond quickly to new threats and strategic challenges. It is far from certain that the supposed benefits of the additional reductions favored by the president outweigh the risks of lower numbers in our nuclear stockpile.

As the president has noted, any new arms-control treaty would have to be supported by the Senate. His failure to request full funding to modernize our nuclear weapons laboratories—another pledge he made to secure ratification of New Start—is another reason his proposals would be met with strong skepticism in the Senate.

As he said on his recent trip to South Korea, President Obama believes that, because we are "the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons," we now have a "moral obligation" to pursue nuclear disarmament. In fact, the United States used two atomic weapons to end World War II in order to fulfill a moral obligation to save the lives of perhaps a million American GIs.

Today, the federal government has no higher moral obligation than to protect the American people and to help ensure the human race never again experiences the ruin and destruction of the wars that occurred before the advent of nuclear weapons. Supporting a robust nuclear deterrent and an effective missile defense is a moral obligation for all those who are entrusted with ensuring our nation's security.

Mr. Kyl is a Republican senator from Arizona.
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« Reply #268 on: May 16, 2012, 08:11:31 AM »
Former Commander of U.S. Nuclear Forces Calls for Large Cut in WarheadsBy THOM SHANKER
Published: May 15, 2012
WASHINGTON — Gen. James E. Cartwright, the retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of the United States’ nuclear forces, is adding his voice to those who are calling for a drastic reduction in the number of nuclear warheads below the levels set by agreements with Russia.

General Cartwright said that the United States’ nuclear deterrence could be guaranteed with a total arsenal of 900 warheads, and with only half of them deployed at any one time. Even those in the field would be taken off hair triggers, requiring 24 to 72 hours for launching, to reduce the chance of accidental war.

That arsenal would be a significant cut from the current agreement to limit Russia and the United States to 1,550 deployed warheads each, down from 2,200, within six years. Under the New Start agreement, thousands more warheads can be kept in storage as a backup force, and the restrictions do not apply to hundreds of short-range nuclear weapons in the American and Russian arsenals.

“The world has changed, but the current arsenal carries the baggage of the cold war,” General Cartwright said in an interview. “There is the baggage of significant numbers in reserve. There is the baggage of a nuclear stockpile beyond our needs. What is it we’re really trying to deter? Our current arsenal does not address the threats of the 21st century.”

The proposals are contained in a report to be issued Wednesday by Global Zero, a nuclear policy organization, signed by General Cartwright and several senior national security figures, including Richard Burt, a former chief nuclear arms negotiator; Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska; Thomas R. Pickering, a former ambassador to Russia; and Gen. John J. Sheehan, who held senior NATO positions before retiring from active duty.

General Cartwright’s leading role in the study is expected to give heft to the proposals; he was the top officer at the United States Strategic Command, overseeing the entire nuclear arsenal. The report’s proposals also may help shape the election-year debate on national security.

President Obama has pronounced a goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, but the specific steps and timetable remain aspirational.

Pentagon officials have drawn up options for the president, ranging from an arsenal that remains at New Start levels to one with 300 to 400 warheads. But officials emphasized that this internal review was still under way and that no decisions had been made.

In March, Republicans criticized Mr. Obama after he was overheard telling his Russian counterpart during a nuclear terrorism conference in South Korea that he would have more flexibility to deal with Moscow’s concerns on arms control after the November election.

Among the striking Global Zero proposals is one to eliminate outright the fixed, land-based intercontinental nuclear missiles that form one leg of the three-part nuclear arsenal, and instead rely solely on submarines, which are nearly impossible to detect, and long-range bombers, which can be summoned back from an attack should a crisis ease. The proposal calls for 360 warheads deployed aboard submarines and 90 gravity bombs aboard strike aircraft, and calls on Russia also to limit its arsenal to 900 warheads.

Given the low likelihood of a huge nuclear exchange with Russia or China, General Cartwright said, these steep reductions in the American arsenal are necessary if the United States wants credibility to urge restraints on the weapons programs of smaller nuclear powers like India and Pakistan — and on potentially emerging nuclear states like Iran and North Korea.

General Cartwright said that countries like India and Pakistan viewed their weapons more as a shield to protect their sovereignty than as a sword to be used in conflict. They and some potentially emerging nuclear powers ignore Washington’s calls for curbing their nuclear aspirations, saying that the United States is guilty of hypocrisy because it maintains a huge arsenal.

“A significant number of countries are not part of the dialogue” on reducing nuclear weapons, he said. And as more nuclear weapons are held by more nations — whose arsenals are not guarded by the layers of high-tech security systems in place over American weapons — the greater the opportunity for them to fall into the hands of terrorists, General Cartwright noted.

The Global Zero study also says that the large reductions make sense in a time of constrained Pentagon spending. The delivery systems in the American nuclear arsenal are nearing the end of their service life at nearly the same time, presenting a bill of hundreds of billions of dollars just as the Defense Department must cut spending.

Bruce Blair, who directed the study and is a co-founder of Global Zero, said that decisions should be made soon on nuclear arms reductions, so that money is not wasted on weapons programs that should be eliminated.

Mr. Blair said that land-based intercontinental missiles “have no role to play any longer.” In fixed silos, they are vulnerable to targeting. And the study includes maps to show that America’s land-based missile force would have to fly over Russia to reach potential nuclear adversaries like North Korea or Iran. That route “risks confusing Russia with ambiguous attack indications and triggering nuclear retaliation,” he said.

The report emphasizes the importance of missile defense in bolstering American deterrence in an era of smaller offensive nuclear arsenals.

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« Reply #269 on: May 16, 2012, 04:29:01 PM »

Tehran: West Caving on Iranian Nuclear Program
by Joel Himelfarb  •  May 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

Iranian and United Nations officials claimed to have made progress in negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program on Tuesday. But initial reports have provided little substantive information beyond an announcement that representatives of the Iranian regime and the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet again next week in Vienna, Austria.

Iranian officials waxed optimistic, claiming the West is coming to terms with the inevitability of Iran's nuclear program. In a New York Times interview, Hamidreza Taraghi, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, bragged that Tehran had managed to skew the current nuclear negotiations in its favor by making uranium enrichment (a potential path to nuclear weapons) a reality that the West cannot stop.

Taraghi told the Times that Iran had convinced the West of the importance of a fatwa against the possession of nuclear weapons that Khamenei issued. Iranian officials emphasized that edict during last month's negotiations in Istanbul.

American officials countered that they brought up Khamenei's fatwa in an effort to provide the Iranians a "face-saving" way to reach a compromise. But Iranian negotiators left Istanbul believing they had prevailed. "We have managed to get our rights," Taraghi said. "All that remains is a debate over the percentage of enrichment."

That may be posturing. But a new analysis by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies suggests the Islamist regime has good reason to believe it has the upper hand in the nuclear standoff.

The IAEA's own reports show "that Iran has moved far beyond the point where it lacked the technology base to produce nuclear weapons," Cordesman writes. "Iran has pursued every major area of nuclear weapons development, (and) has carried out programs that have already given it every component of a weapon except fissile material." Moreover, "there is strong evidence that it has carried out programs to integrate a nuclear warhead on [to] its missiles."

Cordesman finds that Iran's nuclear efforts are diversified and can be concealed from international inspectors. Even if it were to suspend uranium enrichment, Tehran could "pursue nuclear weapons development through a range of compartmented and easily concealable programs without a formal weapons program."

Even if Tehran agreed to controls on its current enrichment facilities or saw them destroyed in a military strike, it would not necessarily put an end to the regime's nuclear capability. It "would take an amazing amount of intelligence access to prevent" Iran from creating replacement enrichment facilities if its existing programs were destroyed in bombing raids, Cordesman writes.

In short, "Iran could appear to agree to arms control or appear to have had its programs destroyed and still go on creating better future enrichment capability."

Read the full article here.

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« Reply #270 on: September 26, 2012, 09:38:27 AM »

Alan Dershowitz: The Message Obama Should Have Sent
Forget about a 'red line.' Try a warning to Iran in black-and-white..

On Monday in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised that Israel will be "eliminated," a variation on his previous threats to the nation's existence. He was in town for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, a gathering that reliably sees leaders issuing pronouncements that, even if not new, at least are given a bigger stage. On Tuesday, the first day of the gathering, President Obama delivered a speech that also struck familiar notes, including the statement that "a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained." He moved no closer to giving a signal of what he might consider an intolerable development in Iran's advance toward a nuclear weapon.

For months, U.S. and Israeli officials have debated whether Mr. Obama should publicly announce a "red line" that, if crossed by Iran, would prompt an American military response. Announcing such a threshold publicly or privately might be helpful, but it may not be necessary for the president to specify what would constitute such a red line (a certain degree of uranium enrichment, for example, or other evidence of weaponization).

Instead, Mr. Obama has another good option: Tell the Iranian leadership that under no circumstances will it ever be permitted to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and that the U.S. is prepared to take decisive military action to make sure of this.

Such a statement wouldn't tip the president's hand regarding a precise red line, but it would send a clear message that Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons are futile and ultimately will lead to disaster for Iran's rulers.

Mr. Obama's prior statements—that containing a nuclear Iran is not an option; that a country committed to wiping Israel off the map, promoting terrorism and arming Hezbollah and Syria can't be allowed to have nukes—have been strong. But Iran's leadership still doesn't seem to believe that an American military option really is on the table.

Iran's skepticism is understandable in light of some Obama administration rhetoric. This week the president himself characterized Israeli concern over Iran and threats of military action as mere "noise." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly and emphatically outlined the dangers of military action against Iran, and this month Vice President Joe Biden criticized Mitt Romney for being "ready to go to war" with Iran.

Being ready for war with Iran, after all, might be the only way to deter that country from going nuclear.

Were Mr. Obama to affirm America's dedication to blocking Iran's nuclear ambitions through military force if necessary, he would maintain his flexibility to act while putting pressure on Iran's mullahs. He would not be acknowledging, as some fear, that the combination of sanctions and diplomacy is failing. Rather, he would make this combination more effective by convincing Iran's leaders that there is no good reason for them to continue bringing the economic pain of international sanctions onto their country. The message is that their sanctions-provoking projects are pointless because the U.S. will never allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

A policy of sanctions, diplomacy and an absolute dedication to the use of force if necessary has a far better chance of working than sanctions and diplomacy alone. Sanctions have certainly made life difficult in Iran, at least for the general population, but they haven't slowed the regime's nuclear march. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders have been forced to consider unilateral action in the absence of America's clear commitment to stopping Iran before it's too late.

There are many ways to communicate American preparedness, including by increased military planning and exercises. But there is no substitute for a firm commitment, unambiguously stated by a president whose subordinates do nothing to blur the message and, if anything, signal a steely resolve.

There are those who argue that an American president should never make a threat that he may not want to carry out. But President Obama has already committed his administration to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which necessarily means employing the military option if all else fails. He has also told the world that he does not bluff. If that is true, then there is no downside to his stating U.S. policy and intentions explicitly.

Mr. Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard. His latest book is "Trials of Zion" (Grand Central Publishing, 2010).
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« Reply #271 on: September 26, 2012, 10:39:41 AM »

Mr. Dershowitz assumes that Buraq doesn't want a nuclear Iran.
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« Reply #272 on: September 27, 2012, 08:06:51 AM »
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« Reply #273 on: November 29, 2012, 11:35:45 AM »

Hat tip to BD; posting this here in addition to his posting of it on the Iran thread:
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« Reply #274 on: November 29, 2012, 12:03:31 PM »

Reliability unknown:

More Secret Nuclear Sites Discovered in Iran
Thu, November 29, 2012
by: Reza Khalili

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s chief inspector Herman Nackaerts & Iran's IAEA ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh (R) (Photo: Reuters)Just as the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report increased alarm about Iran’s illicit nuclear program, now comes word that the Islamic regime has created even more secret nuclear sites.
The IAEA report indicated that not only has Iran completed installation of 2,784 centrifuges at Fordow, the previous secret site deep in a mountain believed to be immune to air strikes, but also could within days increase output of highly enriched uranium to the 20-percent level, well on the way to nuclear weapons.
Iran has started to feed uranium hexafluoride gas into four new cascades, increasing the number of centrifuges at Fordow from 700 to 1,400, therefore doubling its output of highly enriched uranium and cutting the time needed for having enough high-enriched material for one nuclear bomb. The regime already has enough low-enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs if further enriched.
However, according to a source within the engineering department of the Revolutionary Guards, the regime is working on its nuclear bomb program from several secret sites unknown to the world.
One such site, the source said, is in the outskirts of the small city of Shahrokhabad in Kerman Province.

Kerman, known for its deposits of copper and coal, also has uranium ore deposits, the source said, and is as high a quality as the deposits at Gachin near the city of Bandar Abbas, which the regime has long used for its yellow cake supply. The regime, with its need for yellow cake, not only has explored various sites within Iran but as far away as Venezuela and Bolivia. Both of those countries have close ties with Iran, and both have vast uranium deposits.
The new site, under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, is code-named “Fateh1.” Fateh in Farsi means victorious. The site’s official name is the Martyred Bahonar Training center, but it is used as a front for regime’s nuclear activity. A six foot wall surrounds the site, on top of it are iron bars and on top of them barbed wires.

According to the source, the uranium ore at the new site is processed into yellow cake then converted to uranium hexafluoride, which is then fed into centrifuges to produce enriched uranium.

It is unclear at this time if the conversion of the yellow cake into uranium hexafluoride is done at the new site or sent to the Isfahan uranium conversion facility, but the source said activities at the site point to underground facilities within the site, covered with dirt or a special rolled asphalt to camouflage its activities from satellites. This is similar to what the regime has done at other sites – enriching uranium at underground facilities.

The source added that the site, surrounded by security towers and barbed wire, is under heavy Revolutionary Guard control, with checks at the entrance and security posts within the facility.

The Guard commander of this operation, according to the source, is Col. Habibollah Sanatgar, who reports directly to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, headed by Fereydon Abbasi, though all coordination is under the supervision of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, the father of Iran’s nuclear bomb program. The source added that another facility not far from the site is involved in plutonium work.
Peter Vincent Pry, formerly with the CIA and now executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory board, regards the discovery of another Iranian underground nuclear site as ominous.
“Reliable sources in recent months appear to have disclosed two more previously unknown facilities serving Iran’s nuclear program,” Pry said. “Moreover, the sources have provided some credible evidence that at least one of these facilities is actively engaged in nuclear weaponization. If any of these allegations is even partially true, the whole timeline for Iran developing a nuclear weapon must be recalculated. The advent of a nuclear-armed Iran is much nearer than assumed by the Obama administration.”
Pry warned that the United States cannot afford to let Iran, the leading sponsor of international terrorism, develop even a single nuclear weapon.
“The congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran could launch a nuclear-armed short-range missile off a ship to inflict an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) catastrophe on the United States using just a single warhead,” Pry cautioned. “The EMP attack would collapse the national electric grid and all the critical infrastructures that support modern civilization and the lives of 300 million Americans. Iran has practiced making exactly such a ship-launched EMP attack and has openly written about making an EMP attack to eliminate the United States.”
Exclusive reports by WND on Oct. 8 and Nov. 1 revealed that Iran is operating another nuclear site at which scientists are testing a neutron detonator and implosion system for a nuclear bomb as well as on a nuclear warhead design and enrichment to weaponization levels.
The 5+1 group has requested new talks with Iran over the nuclear impasse. The Islamic regime has hinted about freezing nuclear enrichment to the 20-percent level in exchange for removal of all sanctions, guarantees on providing the country with high-enriched uranium and acceptance of the regime’s full rights to nuclear energy. Such a deal would allow the country’s thousands of centrifuges to continue to enrich to the 5-percent level.
Regardless of the outcome of any further negotiations, the source said, the Islamic regime, with work at many secret sites, is very close to obtaining the bomb.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).
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« Reply #275 on: February 12, 2013, 10:41:03 AM »

And where is the serious Rep response to this? , , ,


Obama's Nuclear Fantasy The president is setting the stage for a world with more nukes in the wrong hands
As a young Soviet military officer, Viktor Esin was stationed in Cuba during the October 1962 crisis, where he had release authority over a nuclear-tipped missile targeting New York. On his first visit to Manhattan in December, I made sure to thank him for not obliterating our city.

Gen. Esin rose to become chief of staff for the Strategic Rocket Forces, and he is now a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Science. So what's been on his mind lately? Mainly the stealthy rise of China to a position of nuclear parity with the U.S. and Russia. "All in all, they may have 850 warheads ready to launch," he says. "Other warheads are kept in storage and intended to be employed in an emergency." He estimates the total size of the Chinese arsenal at between 1,600 and 1,800 warheads.

That is something to bear in mind as the Obama administration seeks to slash the U.S. arsenal to about 1,000 strategic warheads. That would be well below the ceiling of 1,550 warheads stipulated by the 2010 New Start Treaty. The administration also wants to spend less than the $80 billion it promised on modernizing America's rusting nuclear-weapons infrastructure.

On the strength of that promise 13 Republican senators gave President Obama the votes he needed to ratify New Start. Suckers! Now the president means to dispense with the Senate altogether, either by imposing the cuts unilaterally or by means of an informal agreement with Vladimir Putin. This is what Mr. Obama meant in telling Dmitry Medvedev last year that he would have "more flexibility" after re-election.

But what, you ask, is so frightening about having "only" 1,000 nuclear weapons? Surely that is more than enough to turn any conceivable adversary Paleolithic. Won't we remain more or less at parity with the Russians, and far ahead of everyone else?

It all depends on China. It is an article of faith among the arms-control community that Beijing subscribes to a theory of "minimum means of reprisal" and has long kept its arsenal more or less flat in the range of 240-400 warheads. Yet that is a speculative, dated and unverified figure, and China has spent the last decade embarked on a massive military buildup. Isn't it just possible that Beijing has been building up its nuclear forces, too?

When I broached this theory in an October 2011 column—noting that the U.S. had, in fact, underestimated the size of the Soviet arsenal by a factor of two at the end of the Cold War—I was attacked for being needlessly alarmist. But one man who shares that alarm is Gen. Esin. In July 2012, he notes, the Chinese tested an intermediate-range DF-25 missile, which Russia carefully tracked.

"In the final stage the missile had three shifts in trajectory, dropping one [warhead] at each shift," he notes. "It's solid evidence of a MIRV [multiple warhead] test." A month later, the Chinese launched a new long-range, MIRV-capable missile, this time from a submarine.

The general runs through additional evidence of China's nuclear strides. But what should really get the attention of U.S. military planners are his observations of how Russia might react. "If China doesn't stop, Russia will consider abandoning the INF Treaty," he warns. "Russia cannot afford not taking this factor into account."

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, is a cornerstone of the settlement that ended the Cold War. If Russia abandons it and begins building a new generation of intermediate-range missiles, the U.S. would either have to follow suit or lose parity with Moscow. We'd be off to the nuclear races once again.

And not just with Moscow. As North Korea gears up for a third nuclear test, South Korea is eager to begin recycling plutonium—ostensibly for peaceful purposes, in reality as a nuclear hedge against its neighbors.

Then there is Japan, which is scheduled to bring on line a reprocessing plant at Rokkasho later this year. As nuclear expert Henry Sokolski notes, "the plant will produce eight tons of nuclear weapons usable plutonium each year (enough for 1,000 to 2,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs) at a time when Japan has no nuclear reactors to burn the material."

Like the South Koreans, the Japanese don't want a nuclear arsenal: They have lived peacefully under the nuclear umbrella of the United States for nearly seven decades. But as that umbrella shrinks, it covers fewer countries. Those left out will look to deploy umbrellas of their own. "The U.S. has obligations on extended deterrence in Asia," Gen. Esin says. "The problem has to be at the forefront, not avoided."

President Obama has often said that he wants to live in a world without nuclear weapons. Who wouldn't? Even Gen. Esin is a "Global Zero" signatory. But the real choice isn't between more nuclear weapons or fewer. It is between a world of fewer U.S. nuclear weapons and more nuclear states, or the opposite. In his idealism, the president is setting the stage for a more nuclearized world.

Write to
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« Reply #276 on: February 12, 2013, 11:40:37 AM »

Buraq gutting our nuclear and non-nuclear military isn't accidental or because of a lack of understanding.
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« Reply #277 on: February 12, 2013, 12:43:12 PM »

"And where is the serious Rep response to this? , , ,"

SOTU Republican response is tonight immediately following the President.  Hopefully opposition to unilateral disarmament is in it.

Nearly all Republicans are strongly pro-defense.  Where is response of sane and responsible Democrats and independents to weakening the United States and making the world more dangerous?
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« Reply #278 on: April 08, 2013, 08:43:45 AM »

The Coming Nuclear Breakout
As the U.S. deterrent fades, atomic weapons are poised to proliferate..
President Obama came to office in 2009 promising to negotiate with America's enemies and create a world without nuclear weapons. Four years later, North Korea is threatening America with nuclear attack, Iran is closer to its own atomic arsenal, and the world is edging ever closer to a dangerous new era of nuclear proliferation. The promises and the reality are connected.

The latest talks between the West and Iran failed this weekend, with no immediate plans for another round. The negotiations by now follow a pattern in which the U.S. makes concessions that Iran rejects, followed by more concessions that Iran also rejects, and so on as Tehran plays for time.

North Korea, meanwhile, has moved medium-range missiles to its east coast in preparation for what is expected to be another launch as early as this week. This follows its third nuclear test and an explicit government authorization to strike U.S. targets with nuclear weapons. South Korea and Japan are in the direct line of fire.

The U.S. responded at first with a modest show of deterrent force (B-2 bombers, Aegis cruisers), but lately it has downplayed the threat and even cancelled a U.S. missile test lest it discomfit the North's young dictator Kim Jong Eun. U.S. policy now seems to be to beg China one more time to do something about its client state. This is worth trying given that China has a new senior leadership, but the public nature of U.S. pleading (see the weekend's newspapers) also projects weakness.

This anti-proliferation failure, in turn, has friends and allies increasingly wondering if they need their own nuclear deterrent. Chung Mong-joon, a prominent member of South Korea's ruling party, has called for the U.S. to return tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula. George H.W. Bush withdrew them from South Korea in 1991 in a gesture to stop North Korea from going nuclear.

"Some say that the U.S. nuclear umbrella is a torn umbrella. If so, we need to repair it," Mr. Chung said in February, adding that if the U.S. refuses South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons. A recent poll found that 66% of South Koreans support a home-grown deterrent.

The South Korean government says it has no such plans, but it's no coincidence that it is now pressing the U.S. for permission to produce its own nuclear fuel. While the supposed rationale is civilian use, the ability to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel is also a step toward making a bomb if South Korea ever chooses to.

That kind of talk is watched closely in Japan, which has refrained from getting its own bomb under the U.S. umbrella and the legacy of World War II. Few politicians are making the case for a Japanese bomb other than the nationalist Shintaro Ishihara, but that will change if the North keeps expanding its arsenal or the South goes nuclear. Japan already has a reprocessing facility that will soon be producing tons of weapons-usable plutonium.

Likewise in the Middle East, Iran's march to the bomb has other countries preparing the ground for their own nuclear breakout. Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build 16 reactors—precisely the number that nuclear inspectors say it would need for both civilian and military use. The world's largest oil exporter does not need nuclear power for electricity.

Neither does the United Arab Emirates, which is nonetheless building a nuclear power plant only a few hundred miles from Iran. The UAE has promised not to enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel, and in return the U.S. is providing technical advice on the plant. But few expect that promise to stand if Iran gets the bomb.

Elsewhere in the region, Syria tried to import a nuclear-energy capacity until Israel blew it up in 2007 (despite the disapproval of then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). Turkey and Egypt are also likely to seek their own nuclear deterrent if Iran isn't stopped.

All of this is occurring even as Mr. Obama has pursued the most aggressive nuclear arms control agenda since the 1970s—or more likely because of it. In April 2009, the President famously declared that reducing U.S. nuclear stockpiles "will then give us a greater moral authority to say to Iran, don't develop a nuclear weapon; to say to North Korea, don't proliferate nuclear weapons."

Mr. Obama has since cut the U.S. arsenal in the Start treaty with Russia and he's negotiating more reductions that he may not submit for Senate ratification. None of this "moral authority" has had the least deterrent effect on Iran or North Korea.

The truth is the opposite. The world can see the U.S. has acquiesced in North Korea's weapons program and lacks the will to stop Iran. It can see the U.S. is shrinking its own nuclear capacity through arms control, even as rogue threats grow. And it can see the U.S. is ambivalent about its allies getting nuclear weapons even as it does little to shore up the U.S. umbrella or allied defenses.

Above all, the world can hear Mr. Obama declare for domestic American audiences that "the tide of war is receding" despite the growing evidence to the contrary. On present trend, the President who promised to rid the world of nuclear weapons is setting the stage for their greatest proliferation since the dawn of the atomic age.
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« Reply #279 on: April 26, 2013, 08:41:23 AM »

Chemical Weapons and Consequences
Syria calls President Obama's bluff on WMD..
'As President of the United States, I don't bluff." So President Obama famously said in March 2012, warning Iranian leaders that he would not allow them to acquire nuclear weapons. Those are words Iranian leaders surely have in mind as they watch to see if Mr. Obama was bluffing about the warning the President has repeatedly delivered against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria.

"I've made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who follow his orders: We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists," Mr. Obama said last month. "The world is watching; we will hold you accountable."

Or not. On Thursday, the White House confirmed in a letter to Senators John McCain and Carl Levin that the U.S. intelligence community now believes "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin." That comports with similar claims by the French, British and Israel.

As for the accountability Mr. Obama promised, that's much less clear. The White House letter also said that "We are currently pressing for a comprehensive United Nations investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what took place."

To recap: In a world in which there are few limits on war's brutality, chemical weapons have since World War I largely been the exception. Yet now there is growing evidence that Mr. Assad is the first known leader to use chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein murdered his own people in the Kurdish city of Halabja in 1988. The Syrian attack violates red lines Mr. Obama personally laid down. And now the Administration will . . . go to the U.N.?

At Turtle Bay, the U.S. will need permission from Syria's protectors in Moscow and Beijing merely to begin an investigation. If such a probe does get launched, it is unlikely ever to reach the site of the attacks in safety. At which point—several months, if not years, down the road—proof of the attacks will be all-but impossible to come by. Surely Mr. Obama and his military advisers know that it is impossible to gather from a battlefield the kind of proof needed beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom.

This message about American bluffing won't be lost on Iran, which has refused to bend on its nuclear program despite claims by Secretary of State John Kerry that time is running out. It also won't be lost on Israeli leaders, who can't afford to let Syria's chemical stockpiles spread to its other enemies in the region.

The growing strength within the Syrian insurgency of the al Nusra Front—now an official franchise of al Qaeda—means the chances of chemical weapons falling into the hands of jihadists has never been greater. Israel will have to consider its own military options to secure the stockpiles if the U.S. won't act, and that would run the risk of further regional escalation.

Mr. Obama has strived mightily to avoid intervening in Syria, despite his repeated demands that Mr. Assad "must go." The Administration's U.N. gambit looks like one more way to avoid doing something it promised it would do if chemical weapons were used. Presidents who are exposed as bluffers tend to have their bluff called again and again, with ever more dangerous consequences.
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« Reply #280 on: May 23, 2013, 06:25:31 AM »

Do You Feel Lucky? The Threat of EMP

Frank Gaffney - March 22, 2013 -

In 1987, Ronald Reagan mused that, if the world were about to be devastated by an alien force – perhaps a collision with a large asteroid, peoples of all nations, ideological persuasions and political parties would come together to save the planet and our civilization.  We may be about to test that proposition.

At the moment, no asteroid is known to be hurtling our way.  But a naturally occurring phenomenon is, one that may be as fatal for modern industrial societies and for the quality of life they have made possible – thanks principally to electrification.  The technical term for this threat is geomagnetically induced currents (GMIC) generated by the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that laymen call solar eruptions or flaring.

Think of it as “space weather.” And there is a strong possibility that some of the heaviest such weather in hundreds of years is headed our way.

GMIC engenders intense bursts of electromagnetic energy.  No fewer than five studies mandated by the executive or legislative branches have confirmed that such electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is lethal for the electronic devices, computers and transformers that power everything in our 21st Century society.  Since these things are generally unprotected against EMP – whether naturally occurring or man-induced, they would almost certainly be damaged or destroyed.  The U.S. electrical grid could, as a result, be down for many months, and probably years.

We know that this EMP-precipitated effect could also be achieved by the detonation of a nuclear weapon high over the United States.  And actual or potential enemies of this country – notably Russia, China, North Korea and Iran – understand our acute vulnerability in this area, and have taken steps to exploit it.

“Catastrophic” is a term often used to describe the repercussions for our country of the cascading shut-down, first of the key elements of the grid, then inexorably, all of the electricity-dependent infrastructures that make possible life as we know it in this country. That would include those that enable: access to and distribution of food, water, fuel and heat; telecommunications; finance; transportation; sewage treatment and cooling of nuclear power plants.

President Reagan’s Science Advisor, Dr. William Graham, who chaired a blue-ribbon congressional commission on the EMP threat, has calculated that within a year of the U.S. electrical grid being devastated by such a phenomenon, nine out of ten Americans would be dead.

Did that get your attention?  Or, as Dirty Harry would say, do you feel lucky?

Unfortunately, we have no way to prevent such an event – any more than we could if we knew an asteroid were headed our way.  Persisting in our present state of vulnerability is an invitation to disaster, if not at the hands of some foe, then as a result of the cycle of intense solar storms in which we now find ourselves.

The good news is that there are practical and affordable steps we can take to mitigate these threats, if only we have the will and the wit to adopt them before we are hit by heavy space weather or its man-caused counterpart.

The present danger and our options for defending against it will be the subject of an extraordinary conference in Washington this week: the Electric Infrastructure Security Summit.  Many of the nation’s foremost authorities on EMP will participate, including: bipartisan champions of this issue in Congress; nuclear physicists and other experts; executive branch officials from the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Department of Homeland Security; and representatives from the quasi-governmental North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and from the utilities industry.

The single biggest challenge to date has been the lack of public awareness of the EMP peril.  This is particularly ironic since a television program envisioning life in America after the lights go out, NBC’s “Revolution,” has been quite popular.  But most viewers seem to think the precipitating event is the stuff of science fiction.  An intensive effort is needed now to disabuse them of this comforting, but unfounded notion, and to enlist them in the corrective actions that are necessary on an urgent, bipartisan and nation-wide basis.

To that end, some discernible progress is being made. For example, on May 16th, at the instigation of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, the FERC issued a final rule that, in the words of the trade publication Power Magazine, “orders the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop, by the end of the year, reliability standards that address the impact of geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) on the nation’s bulk power system.”

The Maine state legislature is poised to adopt legislation that would require the FERC to submit a plan by the end of June to insulate Maine’s grid from that of the rest of the Northeastern states and harden it against EMP.  This measure could serve as model for similar state-level initiatives elsewhere and help catalyze counterpart legislation at the federal level along the lines of that introduced in the last session of Congress by Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), dubbed the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage (SHIELD) Act.

Important and necessary as these measures are, they are not sufficient to contend fully with the urgent threat our country is now facing.   We are on a collision course for catastrophe of a magnitude, if not exactly of a kind, with that that could be inflicted by the kind of dangerous asteroid President Reagan envisioned decades ago.  There is simply no time to waste in joining forces and implementing the steps needed to ensure we are not counting on luck to keep America’s lights on.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 12:29:45 PM by objectivist1 » Logged

"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
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« Reply #281 on: May 23, 2013, 12:12:22 PM »

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« Reply #282 on: June 02, 2013, 09:52:49 PM »

OPINION  |  30 May 2013
> *Our Endangered Nuclear Weaponeers*
> /No more nukes means no more experts, and their talents have kept us
> safe./
> By J. Douglas Beason
> It takes a nuclear weaponeer to stop a nuclear weaponeer. And I should
> know.
> In the 1990s, I designed nuclear bombs at Lawrence Livermore National
> Laboratory. In the 2000s at Los Alamos, I ran one of the largest
> programs to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction,
> directing hundreds of professionals who had worked for decades on all
> aspects of nuclear weapons. The background, experience and judgment of
> these weaponeers were responsible for successfully mitigating and
> preventing various nuclear threats, details of which are still classified.
> The U.S. is now in danger of forever losing this talent that keeps the
> nation safe. That is a disturbing development, because the threat
> isn't going away. Iran is producing enriched uranium, North Korea in
> February detonated its third nuclear weapon since 2006, and terrorists
> continually seek this ultimate capability. The risk endures and is
> growing.
> Policy luminaries such as former Defense Secretary William Perry and
> former Secretary of State George Shultz have called for the
> elimination of nuclear weapons, and the Obama administration embraces
> this goal. In a perfect world with complete transparency, a
> nuclear-free planet would be the ideal for ensuring peace.
> But the world has pursued quixotic goals before and has repeatedly
> found that the genie can't be stuffed back in its bottle. The
> Versailles Treaty of 1919 and the Geneva Protocols of 1925 outlawed
> the use of chemical weapons. But this year, even after President Obama
> established a very clear red line, Syria used chemical weapons against
> its own citizens.
> In 1980 the World Health Organization announced that it had eradicated
> smallpox. But the U.S. and Russia still hold small quantities of the
> virus in reserve to make vaccines if needed. The concern is that
> terrorists will weaponize the virus. Smallpox has been all but zeroed
> out, yet the world can't afford to lose its ability to combat the disease.
> Today, Russia stockpiles the greatest number of nuclear weapons on the
> planet. A handful of other countries—some allies of America, some
> not—have their own nuclear capability. Yet the Obama administration's
> strategy is to drive the U.S. stockpile to zero. The reasoning is that
> by reducing the country's weapons and its nuclear complex—people,
> resources and infrastructure—the U.S. will lead the way in reducing
> the nuclear threat. Others will then follow.
> Aside from the inconvenient fact that others don't always adhere to
> treaties, there is a major problem in this calculus. The people who
> design, build and maintain America's nuclear weapons are the only ones
> who have the expertise to anticipate and deter the nuclear threats
> that adversaries dream up. They're the same men and women who build
> the sensors that can detect nuclear explosions from space. And they're
> the same professionals who know whether to "cut the red or blue wire"
> in a terrorist device.
> When dealing with a threat this serious, we can't afford to have
> second-rate talent hastily trained in nearly forgotten methods. That's
> why the esoteric knowledge these first-string weaponeers
> possess—gained over decades working on nuclear weapons—is invaluable.
> First-stringers have intimate knowledge of the materials and
> manufacturing processes to construct a nuclear bomb. They know how
> adversaries clandestinely store their weapons; how adversaries
> transport them, first within their own country, then across borders;
> and how adversaries hide a weapon's emissions so they can't be
> detected. Most important, first-stringers know how to stop a nuclear
> detonation.
> To eradicate the nuclear threat, America needs to employ the world's
> best nuclear weaponeers. And although it seems paradoxical, the only
> way to do that is to maintain a nuclear stockpile—perhaps a small one,
> but a real one. We can't rely on models, simulations or non-nuclear
> substitutes to give first-stringers experience. There are too many
> subtleties involved with nuclear weapons to take a chance.
> Zeroing out the U.S. nuclear stockpile means also zeroing out the
> nuclear-talent stockpile, with potentially catastrophic results.
> Dr. Beason, a retired Air Force colonel, was the associate laboratory
> director for threat reduction at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in
> New Mexico and is now chief scientist of Air Force Space Command. The
> views expressed are his own and do not represent the U. S. Air Force.
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« Reply #283 on: June 05, 2013, 02:37:26 PM »

*Nuclear Terror in the Middle East*
*Lethality Beyond the Pale*
By Nick Turse

In those first minutes, they’ll be stunned. Eyes fixed in a thousand-yard
stare, nerve endings numbed. They’ll just stand there. Soon, you’ll notice
that they are holding their arms out at a 45-degree angle. Your eyes will
be drawn to their hands and you’ll think you mind is playing tricks. But it
won’t be. Their fingers will start to resemble stalactites, seeming to melt
toward the ground. And it won’t be long until the screaming begins.
Shrieking. Moaning. Tens of thousands of victims at once. They’ll be
standing amid a sea of shattered concrete and glass, a wasteland punctuated
by the shells of buildings, orphaned walls, stairways leading nowhere.

This could be Tehran, or what’s left of it, just after an Israeli nuclear

Iranian cities -- owing to geography, climate, building construction, and
population densities -- are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack,
according to a new
“Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,” published
in the journal *Conflict & Health* by researchers from the University of
Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released
scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might
actually mean for people in the region.

Its scenarios are staggering.  An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of
Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill
seven million people -- 86% of the population -- and leave close to 800,000
wounded.  A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated
5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an
advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a
nuclear detonation.

Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more
horrendous.  A nuclear assault on the city of* *Arak, the site of a heavy
to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000
residents.  Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf
port<> of
Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens,
leaving just 1% of the population uninjured.  A multi-weapon strike on
Kermanshah, a Kurdish
city<> with
a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9%
casualty rate.

Cham Dallas, the director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass
Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia and lead author of the
study, says that the projections are the most catastrophic he’s seen in
more than 30 years<>
weapons of mass destruction* *and their potential effects.  “The fatality
rates are the highest of any nuke simulation I’ve ever done,” he told me by
phone from the nuclear disaster zone in Fukushima, Japan, where he was
doing research.  “It’s the perfect storm for high fatality rates.”

Israel has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons, but is
have up to several
warheads in its arsenal.  Iran has no nuclear weapons and its leaders claim
that its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes only.  Published
American intelligence agencies and Israel’s intelligence service are in
agreement: Iran suspended its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.

Dallas and his colleagues nonetheless ran simulations for potential Iranian
nuclear strikes on the Israeli cities of Beer Sheva, Haifa, and Tel Aviv
using much smaller 15-kiloton weapons, similar in strength to those
the United States on the Japanese cities of
Nagasaki in August 1945.  Their analyses suggest that, in Beer Shiva, half
of the population of 209,000 would be killed and one-sixth injured.  Haifa
would see similar casualty ratios, including 40,000 trauma victims.  A
strike on Tel Aviv with two 15-kiloton weapons would potentially slaughter
17% of the population -- nearly 230,000 people.  Close to 150,000 residents
would likely be injured.

These forecasts, like those for Iranian cities, are difficult even for
experts to assess.  “Obviously,* *accurate predictions of casualty and
fatality estimates are next to impossible to obtain,” says Dr. Glen
a longtime consultant on the medical effects of
the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who was not
involved in the research.  “I think their estimates are probably high but
not impossibly so.”

According to Paul
Carroll<> of
the Ploughshares Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation that advocates for
nuclear disarmament, “the results would be catastrophic” if major Iranian
cities were attacked with modern nuclear weapons.  “I don’t see 75%
[fatality rates as] being out of the question,” says Carroll, after
factoring in the longer-term effects of radiation sickness, burns, and a
devastated medical infrastructure.* *

According to Dallas and his colleagues, the marked disparity between
estimated fatalities in Israel and Iran can be explained by a number of
factors.  As a start, Israel is presumed to have extremely
weapons and sophisticated delivery capabilities including long-range
Jericho missiles, land-based cruise missiles, submarine-launched missiles,
and advanced aircraft with precision targeting technology.

The nature of Iranian cities also makes them exceptionally vulnerable to
nuclear attack, according to the *Conflict & Health* study.  Tehran, for
instance, is home to 50% of Iran’s industry, 30% of its public sector
workers, and 50 colleges and universities.  As a result, 12
 people live in or near the capital, most of them clustered in its core.
Like most Iranian cities, Tehran has little urban sprawl, meaning residents
tend to live and work in areas that would be subject to maximum devastation
and would suffer high percentages of fatalities due to trauma as well
as thermal
burns <> caused by the flash of heat
from an explosion.

Iran’s topography, specifically mountains around cities, would obstruct the
dissipation of the blast and heat from a nuclear explosion, intensifying
the effects.  Climatic conditions, especially high concentrations of
airborne dust, would likely exacerbate thermal and radiation casualties as
well as wound infections.

*Nuclear Horror: Then and Now*

The first nuclear attack on a civilian population center, the U.S. strike on
left that city “uniformly and extensively devastated,” according to a
out in the wake of the attacks by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey.
“Practically the entire densely or moderately built-up portion of the city
was leveled by blast and swept by fire... The surprise, the collapse of
many buildings, and the conflagration contributed to an unprecedented
casualty rate.”  At the time, local health authorities reported that 60% of
immediate deaths were due to flash or flame burns and medical investigators
estimated that 15%-20% of the deaths were caused by radiation.

Witnesses “stated that people who were in the open directly under the
explosion of the bomb were so severely burned that the skin was charred
dark brown or black and that they died within a few minutes or hours,”
according to the 1946
“Among the survivors, the burned areas of the skin showed evidence of burns
almost immediately after the explosion.  At first there was marked redness,
and other evidence of thermal burns appeared within the next few minutes or

their arms outstretched
<> because
it was too
allow them to hang at their sides and rub against their bodies.  One
victims “with both arms so severely burned that all the skin was hanging
from their arms down to their
and others having
bread, losing their eyesight. It was like ghosts walking in procession…
 Some jumped into a river because of their serious burns. The river was
filled with the wounded and blood.”

The number of fatalities at Hiroshima has been
A nuclear attack on Nagasaki three days later is thought to have killed
70,000.  Today, according to Dallas, 15-kiloton nuclear weapons of the type
used on Japan are referred to by experts as “firecracker nukes” due to
their relative weakness.

In addition to killing more than 5.5 million people, a strike on Tehran
involving five 250-kiloton weapons -- each of them 16 times more powerful
than the
on Hiroshima -- would result in an estimated 803,000 third-degree burn
victims, with close to 300,000 others suffering second degree burns, and
750,000 to 880,000 people severely exposed to radiation. “Those people with
thermal burns over most of their bodies we can’t help,” says Dallas.  “Most
of these people are not going to survive… there is no saving them.  They’ll
be in intense agony.”  As you move out further from the site of the blast,
he says, “it actually gets worse.  As the damage decreases, the pain
increases, because you’re not numb.”

In a best case scenario, there would be 1,000 critically injured victims
for every surviving doctor but “it will probably be worse,” according to
Dallas.  Whatever remains of Tehran’s healthcare system will be inundated
with an estimated 1.5 million trauma sufferers.  In a feat of
understatement, the researchers report that survivors “presenting with
combined injuries including either thermal burns or radiation poisoning are
unlikely to have favorable outcomes.”

Iranian government officials did not respond to a request for information
about how Tehran would cope in the event of a nuclear attack.  When asked
if the U.S. military could provide humanitarian aid to Iran after such a
strike, a spokesman for Central Command, whose area of responsibility
includes the Middle East, was circumspect.  “U.S. Central Command plans for
a wide range of contingencies to be prepared to provide options to the
Secretary of Defense and the President,” he told this reporter.  But Frederick
Burkle <>, a senior fellow at the
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Harvard University’s School of Public
Health, as well as a coauthor of the just-published article, is emphatic
that the U.S. military could not cope with the scale of the problem.  “I
must also say that no country or international body is prepared to offer
the assistance that would be needed,” he told me.* *

Dallas and his team spent five years working on their study*.*  Their
predictions were generated using a declassified version of a software
package developed for the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction
Agency, as well as other complementary software applications.  According to
Glen Reeves, the software used fails to account for many of the vagaries
and irregularities of an urban environment.  These, he says, would mitigate
some of the harmful effects.  Examples would be buildings or cars providing
protection from flash burns.  He notes, however, that built-up areas can
also exacerbate the number of deaths and injuries.  Blast effects far
weaker than what would be necessary to injure the lungs can, for instance,
topple a house.  “Your office building can collapse… before your eardrums
pop!” notes Reeves.

The new study provides the only available scientific predictions to date
about what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean.
Dallas, who was previously the director of the Center for Mass Destruction
Defense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quick to
point out that the study received no U.S. government funding or oversight.
“No one wanted this research to happen,” he adds.

*Rattling Sabers and Nuclear Denial*

Frederick Burkle <> points out
that, today, discussions about nuclear weapons in the Middle East almost
exclusively center on whether or not Iran will produce an atomic bomb
instead of “focusing on ensuring that there are options for them to embrace
an alternate sense of security.”  He warns that the repercussions may be
grave.  “The longer this goes on the more we empower that singular thinking
both within Iran and Israel.”

Even if Iran were someday to build several small nuclear weapons, their
utility would be limited.  After all,
that Israel would be capable of launching a post-attack response which
would simply devastate Iran.  Right now, Israel is the
state in the Middle East.  Yet a preemptive Israeli nuclear strike against
Iran also seems an
to most experts.

“Currently, there is little chance of a true nuclear war between the two
nations,” according to Paul Carroll of the Ploughshares Fund.  Israel, he
points out, would be unlikely to use nuclear weapons unless its very
survival were at stake. “However, Israel’s rhetoric about red lines and the
threat of a nuclear Iran are something we need to worry about,” he told me
recently by email.   “A military strike to defeat Iran’s nuclear capacity
would A) not work B) ensure that Iran WOULD then pursue a bomb (something
they have not clearly decided to do yet) and C) risk a regional war.”

Cham Dallas sees the threat in even starker terms.  “The Iranians and the
Israelis are both committed to conflict,” he told me.  He isn’t alone in
voicing concern.  “What will we do if Israel threatens Tehran with nuclear
obliteration?... A nuclear battle in the Middle East, one-sided or not,
would be the most destabilizing military event since Pearl Harbor,” wrote
Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter Tim Weiner in a recent
Bloomberg News.  “Our military commanders know a thousand ways in which a
war could start between Israel and Iran… No one has ever fought a nuclear
war, however. No one knows how to end one.”

The Middle East is hardly the only site of potential nuclear catastrophe.
Today, according <> to
the Ploughshares Fund, there are an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons in the
world.  Russia reportedly has the most with 8,500; North Korea, the fewest
with less than 10.  Donald Cook, the administrator for defense programs at
the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, recently confirmed that
the United States
4,700 nuclear warheads.  Other nuclear powers include rivals India and
Pakistan, which stood on the
 of nuclear
2002.  (Just this year, Indian government officials
of Kashmir, the divided territory claimed by both nations, to prepare for a
possible nuclear war.)  Recently, India and nuclear-armed neighbor China,
which went to
each other in the 1960s, again found themselves on the verge of a
to a border dispute in a remote area of the

In a world awash in nuclear weapons, saber-rattling, brinkmanship, erratic
behavior, miscalculations, technological errors, or errors in judgment
could lead to a nuclear detonation and suffering on an almost unimaginable
scale, perhaps nowhere more so than in Iran.  “Not only would the immediate
impacts be devastating, but the lingering effects and our ability to deal
with them would be far more difficult than a 9/11 or earthquake/tsunami
event,” notes Paul Carroll.  Radiation could turn areas of a country into
no-go zones; healthcare infrastructure would be crippled or totally
destroyed; and depending on climatic conditions and the prevailing winds,
whole regions might have their agriculture poisoned.  “One large bomb could
do this, let alone a handful, say, in a South Asian conflict,” he told me.

“I do believe that the longer we have these weapons and the more there are,
the greater the chances that we will experience either an intentional
attack (state-based or terrorist) or an accident,” Carroll wrote in his
email.  “In many ways, we’ve been lucky since 1945.  There have been some
very close calls.  But our luck won’t hold forever.”

Cham Dallas says there is an urgent need to grapple with the prospect of
nuclear attacks, not later, but now.  “There are going to be other big
public health issues in the twenty-first century, but in the first third,
this is it.  It’s a freight train coming down the tracks,” he told me.
“People don’t want to face this.  They’re in denial.”

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« Reply #284 on: June 22, 2013, 06:34:04 PM »

The Obama Age of Proliferation
While the President dreams, nuclear weapons spread.

'We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation," President Obama declared on Wednesday, "but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe." He's right about the last point, because even as the President offers new dreams of U.S. nuclear disarmament, the world is entering a new proliferation age.

Mr. Obama returned this week to Berlin to give his long-promised speech laying out his plans to rid the world of nuclear weapons. His idea is to remove those weapons initially and primarily from American hands. North Korea and Iran each got a single line in his speech, which is at least more than he gave to China, which is investing heavily in the world's third largest nuclear arsenal. Nukes in the hands of terrorists? Mr. Obama said he'll hold a summit on that one in 2016.

Give Mr. Obama points for consistency. Since his college days at Columbia in the 1980s, he has argued for American disarmament and arms-control treaties. When he last issued a call for a nuclear-free world on European soil four years ago in Prague, the Norwegian Nobel Committee rewarded him with a peace prize.

Enlarge Image
AFP/Getty Images

President Obama in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

This week he announced that the U.S. could "maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent" with a third fewer strategic nuclear weapons, or about 1,000 in all. He also called for "bold" cuts in tactical nukes in Europe without offering specifics, which suggests that was mostly for show.

He said he'll work on reducing U.S. stockpiles through "negotiated cuts" with Russia. Whenever this Administration negotiates with Russia, beware. But there's another danger. President Obama left the door open to unilateral U.S. reductions, possibly without Congressional approval.

The Berlin initiative is the long-promised follow-up to the 2010 New Start accord with Russia, which brought down stockpiles of warheads, missiles and bombers. In his speech this week, President Obama urged everyone to "move beyond Cold War nuclear postures." But is there anything that evokes the Cold War more than arms control with Moscow?

Even the Kremlin isn't likely to embrace this new offer. "We cannot endlessly negotiate with the United States the reduction and limitation of nuclear arms while some other countries are strengthening their nuclear and missile capabilities," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian radio last month. By "some others," he means China.

Good point. Bilateral negotiations are an anachronism. Before the Cold War powers cut any deeper, how about some clarity about the size of the Chinese arsenal and its intentions? Beijing hides its warheads and missiles in tunnels and has the industrial wherewithal to build many more quickly. The Pentagon thinks the Chinese have up to 400 nuclear warheads, which sounds low. The Pakistanis possess more than 100.

The Russians are terrified of a rising Chinese military on their long southern border. Beijing likely has 1,800 bombs and warheads, the former commander of Russia's Strategic Forces told the military journalist Bill Gertz last year. Whether this number is accurate or not, the Russians think it is. They're reluctant to give away any more of their rusting strategic long-range arsenal. Forget about any progress on thinning Russia's formidable stockpile (size unknown) of shorter-range tactical weapons.

Yet engaging in arms talks could give the Kremlin fresh leverage over America's missiles defenses. The Russians have wanted to kill the program since Ronald Reagan made it a priority, and they have found a weakness in President Obama's dreams of disarmament. To get New Start, the White House in 2009 cancelled plans for a missile defense site in Poland that would protect the U.S. against an Iranian ICBM.

Mr. Obama is literally pleading with Moscow to strike another arms deal, which underscores the surreal nature of his vision. He handed the Kremlin reams of classified data about American missile defense, supposedly to allay fears that U.S. defenses will weaken Russia's nuclear deterrent. Invoking executive powers, the Pentagon and State Department rebuffed requests by Congress to specify the information shared with Russia to see if it might have jeopardized U.S. security.

Even if Russia won't go along, Mr. Obama's new nuclear strategy says the U.S. has more warheads, missiles and submarines than it needs. The White House can invoke this conclusion to prune the arsenal through budget cuts or executive orders. This way he can also impose changes to America's missile defenses sought by the Russians without direct Congressional approval.

Meanwhile in the real world, North Korea adds to its nuclear arsenal and tests weapons with impunity. Iran marches ahead toward its atomic capability despite U.N. sanctions. Their neighbors in Asia and the Middle East watch and get ready to build or buy their own weapons in response. The legacy of the President who dreams of nuclear disarmament is likely to be a world with far more weapons and more nuclear powers.
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« Reply #285 on: July 23, 2013, 07:14:14 PM »

See the extent of damage of a nuclear explosion!
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« Reply #286 on: September 07, 2013, 12:29:45 PM »

I am cynical enough to wonder if this plays a role in Baraq not wanting to seize Syrian WMD , , , or even accept them from the FSA (I heard a mid-east NSC guy tell FOX that the FSA, should it capture Assad chems, had promised to destroy them, that the agreement with the FSA did not require them to turn over the chems to the US.   I am guessing that in our experts hands, there would be a goodly chance of scientifically determining their provenance.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 12:39:54 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #287 on: September 17, 2013, 12:55:45 PM »


While plans for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles take shape, the magnitude of the operation should not be overlooked. The effort will take years, will not wholly eliminate the threat of chemical weapons' use in the near term and will be fraught with risk.

The United States and Russia have given the Syrian regime until Sept. 21 to produce a complete list of its chemical agents and munitions types as well as the locations of storage, production and research and development facilities. In the existing plan, international inspectors will enter Syria by November for an initial assessment and to destroy all mixing and filling equipment for chemical weapons. Every component of the chemical weapons program is supposed to be destroyed or out of the country by mid-2014.
Destruction Process

Following the standard for chemical weapons disposal, the weapons must be incinerated in order to ensure their complete destruction in a safe and efficient manner. This is done at a permanent facility or in a specially designed mobile unit. There are other means of disposing of the chemical weapons -- for example, burying them in the desert -- but any of these other approaches could have an impact on the surrounding environment and populations and could result in serious political backlash.

Major Chemical Weapons Sites in Syria

Incineration of chemical weapons is not as simple as pouring barrels of material into an incinerator operating at maximum capacity; it is a long and technical process of separating the chemical agent from its container or munitions and destroying it, then safely destroying anything that contained the material, including unexploded ordnance. Furthermore, anything that could hold chemical weapons must at least be inspected to determine whether it was ever used. Any such item will likely be destroyed either way. In the case of munitions that contain or have contained chemical weapons, the process can be extremely laborious because they can be decades old and in some form of decay and may be unstable. This process requires specialists and specific equipment, time, security and money.
Options for Securing Syria's Chemical Weapons

One option for the international community to secure the Syrian regime's chemical weapons would be for Damascus to voluntarily turn over all of its weapons, moving them to a collection point near a border or to a port, where international personnel could assume control and then ship them to a secure place for storage and destruction. The advantage of this scenario is that it would reduce the number of personnel put in harm's way and that all of the specialists could be concentrated in a single area, limiting the need for multiple teams and simplifying security. It would be possible to have only a few hundred specialists handling incoming material at a port in a relatively secure part of the country, such as the port of Tartus.

However, this scenario would require a considerable amount of trust to be placed in the regime of Bashar al Assad because there would be no way to verify that all of the regime's chemical weapons had been delivered. In addition, the sheer logistics of moving 1,000 or so tons of dangerous material across Syria from dispersed storage areas is daunting and in some cases would be fraught with risk, such as from the sites that are besieged by rebel forces, necessitating their cooperation. Finally, there would need to be international actors willing and able to ship the material and others willing and able to receive it, store it and destroy it in their territory.

On the opposite end of the spectrum would be a full-scale incursion, in which armed personnel would be sent to every known storage, research or production site to protect them from the rebels and the regime. In a brief to the U.S. Congress, plans crafted by the U.S. Department of Defense estimated that at least 75,000 combat troops would be needed on the ground for this option. That figure does not account for the number of personnel and assets required to support the ground force in maneuver.

This option is tantamount to invasion and occupation, but it would primarily focus on chemical weapon sites. Specialists required for the disposal would be in the thousands; this is where the bulk of international assistance would be required. As combat soldiers sat on sites, teams of specialists could move about and carefully destroy the weapons. While this could be an international operation, the scale, sophistication and prowess required to do it would mean that the United States would dominate all facets of the operation, at least initially.

The size and composition of this force would enable it to have unilateral movement through the country. It would not need nearly as much cooperation from al Assad's forces as the previous option and would be the best method of verifying the destruction of the largest portion of the chemical weapons arsenal. It would also ensure the best access to sites that are contested or besieged, since this unit could force itself into place. This option would also secure the weapons in place and would alleviate the need to expose them to the danger of transportation.

At the same time, the risks involved in this scenario are high. Personnel would be dispersed over a large geographic area in the middle of a combat zone. They would need to be supplied, so convoys and airlifts, which are vulnerable to ambush, would be constant. Even under ideal circumstances, this operation would take months or likely years to accomplish, and the costs would be very high.

A variation on this option would be to secure the weapons with an initial influx of ground troops but then consolidate the seized materials at either a protected central facility or a site for shipment out of the country. The goal would be to reduce the time in which significant numbers of personnel are in the country. Aside from the hazards of transportation in such a scenario, an international intervention to seize the sites would likely cause the outright collapse of the Syrian regime, thus placing the responsibility for post-al Assad Syria on the intervening force.
The Middle Ground

There are other options between the extremes already detailed. The two main scenarios would be to either insert weapons inspectors and chemical weapons destruction technicians under the protection of the Syrian military or to dispatch the inspectors and technicians with a U.N.-backed armed protection force. Previous weapons inspectors, such as former chief U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, have estimated that some 2,000 inspectors would be needed for a Syria mission.

In the first option, deploying specialists under the protection of the Syrian regime, there would be significant risks, and the complete cooperation of the regime to ensure the experts' safety would be paramount. It would be difficult for a number of countries to consider sending inspectors under such conditions. On the other hand, sending inspectors alongside armed U.N. protection would likely encounter objections from the regime, and there would be considerable risks of instigating firefights with regime or rebel forces in incidents in which chemical weapons facilities were located in disputed territory.

A variation of these options would be to establish a central protected facility from which a security force could be deployed to secure one stockpile at a time and return it to the protected facility. (In this case, a smaller force would focus on each site individually, whereas in the scenario described above, a larger force would seize all chemical weapons sites before moving them to a central location.) This option would depend on a certain amount of cooperation from al Assad's regime, and although fewer personnel would be at risk, it would take much longer to accomplish and would leave unsecured portions of the chemical weapons arsenal exposed to attack or use. The smaller team would also have a much more difficult time gaining access to contested sites or territory and would struggle to verify the total portion of the arsenal that had been destroyed.

All of these options come with some form of political cost. No matter which course is pursued, destruction of the stockpiles cannot comprehensively be verified, there will always be personnel at risk and there will always be the chance that chemical weapons will still be used despite the efforts underway. Any country that chooses to participate will be at risk of being undermined because the process will be expensive and will take years to realistically accomplish.

Read more: Destroying Syria's Chemical Weapons | Stratfor
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« Reply #288 on: September 19, 2013, 11:46:49 AM »
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« Reply #289 on: September 21, 2013, 10:40:57 AM »
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« Reply #290 on: November 25, 2013, 11:51:40 AM »

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« Reply #291 on: November 25, 2013, 12:23:45 PM »

BD:  Nice find, though at 107 pages some of us may appreciate a summary by you  cheesy
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« Reply #292 on: December 14, 2013, 01:50:04 PM »
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« Reply #293 on: January 30, 2014, 10:15:43 AM »
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« Reply #294 on: February 04, 2014, 06:57:14 AM »

Dancing in the Nuclear Dark
How will we know when Iran sprints toward a bomb?
Bret Stephens

Feb. 3, 2014 7:50 p.m. ET

Where do federal government reports go once they've been published and (lightly) chewed over by second-tier officials, congressional staffers and think-tank wonks? I picture them being packed into crates and stored in some vast warehouse, like the Ark of the Covenant in the last scene of "Indiana Jones."

Every now and again, however, some of these reports are worth rescuing from premature burial.

So it is with the "Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies," the soporific title given to a report published last month by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board. The report is long on phrases like "adaptable holistic methodologies" and "institutionalized interagency planning processes." But at its heart it makes three timely and terrifying claims.

First, we are entering a second nuclear age.

Second, the history of nuclear proliferation is no guide to the future.

Third, our ability to detect nuclear breakout—the point at which a regime decides to go for a bomb—is not good.

On the first point, consider: Last year Japan and Turkey signed a nuclear cooperation deal, which at Turkish insistence included "a provision allowing Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons," according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Japan, for its part, hopes to open a $21 billion reprocessing center at Rokkasho later this year, which will be"capable of producing nine tons of weapons-usable plutonium annually . . . enough to build as many as 2,000 bombs," according to a report in this newspaper. The Saudis are openly warning the administration that they will get a bomb if Iran's nuclear programs aren't stopped: Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal speaks of the kingdom's "arrangement with Pakistan." Seoul is pressing Washington to allow it to build uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities, a request Washington is resisting.

Think of that: The administration is prepared to consent to an Iranian "right to enrich" but will not extend the same privilege to South Korea, an ally of more than 60 years. It isn't fun being friends with America these days.

On the second point, here's the board's discomfiting takeaway: "The pathways to proliferation are expanding. Networks of cooperation among countries that would otherwise have little reason to do so, such as the A.Q. Khan network or the Syria-North Korea and Iran-North Korea collaborations, cannot be considered isolated events. Moreover, the growth in nuclear power world-wide offers more opportunity for 'leakage' and/or hiding small programs."

And that may not be the worst of it. At least A.Q. Khan was working for a Pakistani government over which the U.S. could exercise leverage. But what leverage does Washington have over "Office 99," which handles Pyongyang's proliferation networks? What leverage would we have with Tehran should one of its nuclear scientists go rogue?

In the Iranian nuclear negotiations the administration is assuming that a regime as famously fractious as the Islamic Republic will nonetheless maintain rigid controls over its nuclear assets. Why is that assumption good?

Finally, there is the matter of nuclear detection. In his 2012 debate with Paul Ryan, Joe Biden insisted that the Iranians "are a good way away" from a bomb and that "we'll know if they start the process of building a weapon."

The report junks that claim. "The observables are limited, typically ambiguous, and part of a high-clutter environment of unrelated activities," it notes. "At low levels associated with small or nascent [nuclear] programs, key observables are easily masked."

Bottom line: We are dancing in the nuclear dark.

Now the administration is pressing for an agreement with Iran based on the conceit that the intelligence community will give policy makers ample warning before the mullahs sprint for a nuclear weapon. That is not true. Iran could surprise the world with a nuclear test at least as easily as India did in 1998, when the intelligence community gave the Clinton administration zero warning that New Delhi was about to set off a bomb—and a South Asian arms race. That failure is especially notable given that India, unlike Iran, is an open society.

Yet even that's not the essence of the problem. "You can't correct for bad policy with excellent intelligence," says Henry Sokolski of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. U.S. intelligence may or may not be able to provide this administration with the necessary facts at the right time. But Joe Biden and John Kerry are not going to give this president the necessary will to do the right thing.

"The actual or threatened acquisition of nuclear weapons by more actors, for a range of different reasons, is emerging in numbers not seen since the first two decades of the Cold War," the board warns. "Many of these actors are hostile to the U.S. and its allies, and they do not appear to be bound by established norms nor deterred by traditional means."

How fitting that this is happening on the watch of Barack Obama, the man who chases the dream of a world without nuclear weapons.

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« Reply #295 on: April 09, 2014, 01:28:46 PM »

Putin Invades, Obama Dismantles
The U.S. rushes to obey a nuclear arms treaty while Russia cheats.
April 8, 2014 7:20 p.m. ET

John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that "Russian provocateurs" had infiltrated eastern Ukraine in order to foment "an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis." Also on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced steep cuts to U.S. nuclear forces, four years ahead of schedule, in accordance with the 2010 New Start treaty with Russia.

At this point in Barack Obama's Presidency we should be used to the mental whiplash. But we still feel concussed.

So let's slow down and follow the thread. Russia has seized Crimea and has 50,000 troops as a potential invasion force on the border with eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin is also abrogating the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which Kiev agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal—at the time the third largest in the world—in exchange for guarantees of its territorial integrity from Russia, the U.S. and U.K. That memorandum has now proved to be as much of a scrap of paper to the Kremlin as Belgium's neutrality was to Berlin in the summer of 1914.

The Kremlin is also violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans the testing, production and possession of nuclear missiles with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles. Russia has tested at least three missiles—the R-500 cruise missile, the RS-26 ballistic missile and the Iskander-M semi-ballistic missile—that run afoul of the proscribed range limits.

The Obama Administration has suspected for years that Vladimir Putin was violating the INF Treaty, which supporters hail as the triumph of arms control. The Russians were boasting of their new missile capabilities in open-source literature as far back as 2007. Yet as defense analysts Keith Payne and Mark Schneider noted in these pages in February, "since 2009, the current administration's unclassified arms-control compliance reports to Congress have been mum on the Russian INF Treaty noncompliance."
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At a minimum, Congress should call on Rose Gottemoeller, confirmed last month as under secretary of state for arms control over strenuous objections from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, to explain what the Administration knew, and what it disclosed, about Moscow's INF violations when she negotiated New Start.

Ms. Gottemoeller has been publicly noncommittal on this point, perhaps because she knew New Start would never have won a two-thirds Senate majority if Russia's INF cheating had been widely known. The episode reminds us of why people like former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl were right to oppose the ratification of New Start.

Which brings us to the Administration's announcement on cutting U.S. nuclear forces to levels specified by New Start four years before the treaty's 2018 compliance deadline. The news comes a few days after Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists reported that "Russia has increased its counted deployed strategic nuclear forces over the past six months." Yet at the same time America's stockpile of warheads and launchers has declined.

Mr. Obama has dismissed Russia as a regional power, but he is maneuvering the U.S. closer to a position of absolute nuclear inferiority to Russia. The imbalance becomes even worse when one counts tactical nuclear weapons, where Russia has a four-to-one numerical advantage over the U.S.

To the surprise of defense analysts, the Pentagon will make the sharpest cuts in the submarine and bomber legs of the nuclear triad, while mostly preserving the silo-based Minuteman ICBMs. This means that the U.S. will maintain a stationary, and vulnerable, nuclear force on the ground while largely dismantling what remains of our second-strike capability at sea and in the air. A crucial part of deterrence is convincing an adversary that you can survive a first strike. It does not help U.S. security to dismantle the most survivable part of the U.S. arsenal.

It's fashionable in the West to dismiss this as "Cold War thinking," but it appears that Vladimir Putin hasn't given up on such thinking or he wouldn't be investing in new nuclear delivery systems.

Cold War or no, recent events are providing daily reminders that the great-power rivalries of previous centuries are far from over. They have also offered the grim lesson that nations that forsake their nuclear deterrent, as Ukraine did, do so at considerable peril. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 the Senate refused to ratify Jimmy Carter's SALT II Treaty. Any serious response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine should include a formal and public U.S. demarche about Russian cheating on the INF treaty, while promising to withdraw from New Start if the cheating continues.

Nuclear arsenals aside, the timing of Mr. Obama's nuclear dismantling couldn't be worse as Mr. Putin contemplates his next moves in Ukraine and sizes up a possible Western response. Someone said recently that Mr. Putin plays chess while Mr. Obama plays checkers, but that's unfair to the noble game of checkers.
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« Reply #296 on: April 09, 2014, 08:24:36 PM »

Checkers, chess, if only he played to win...
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« Reply #297 on: May 02, 2014, 01:25:36 PM »

The Mideast Missile Race
The Saudis parade ballistic missiles for the first time.
May 1, 2014 6:56 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabia's rulers capped a large military exercise on Tuesday by publicly parading their ballistic missiles for the first time. The King of Bahrain, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Kuwait's Defense Minister and the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff were also in attendance, according to Jane's Defense Weekly. Don't think they weren't trying to send a message.

The weapon on display was the DF-3, a 1960s-era Chinese missile with a range of 1,500 miles and a 4,400-pound payload. The missiles aren't known for accuracy, but parading them at all is a signal that the Kingdom can strike an adversary far outside its borders. Tehran is some 800 miles from the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The Saudis haven't disclosed how many of the DF-3 missiles they have, but Jane's reports that the number is believed to be between 30 and 120.

The missile display is one more sign of the Middle East arms race that is already well underway. As the U.S. retreats from the region, and Iran advances to the edge of acquiring a nuclear weapon, the Saudis no longer trust U.S. security guarantees. They are looking to arm themselves lest Iran use what everyone will understand is a nuclear-breakout capacity to demand concessions from its neighbors.

Ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads will become the preferred method of deterrence. The Saudis have broadcast their close ties to their fellow Sunni Muslims in Pakistan who already have a nuclear weapon. They will be able to buy warheads if they want to. Egypt, Turkey and perhaps some other Gulf states will inevitably try to acquire their own nuclear deterrent as well, with the missiles to deliver it.

Americans—and President Obama's strategists—may want to believe that this isn't our problem. But a world of proliferating ballistic missiles and nuclear powers will become our problem soon enough.
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« Reply #298 on: May 02, 2014, 01:28:10 PM »

I'm sure Lurch will negotiate this problem away.

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« Reply #299 on: May 11, 2014, 07:59:14 AM »
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