Pakistan Nuclear Proliferation - 31 March 2005

kgoan
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Postby kgoan » 24 Nov 2005 00:47

Acharya:

That discussion maybe a bit early just yet. Lets see how the actual nuke deal goes first.

BTW, that article posted by Rajan Roy above is interesting about what it doesn't say. It claims AQ Khan gave the nuke designs to Iran and the US has said they want to "interview" Khan.

Funny thing is how carefully the US *never* asks to interview the man with the power at the time and a known pro-Irani and anti-American, the good General Beg. Kinda like 10 years from now some new US administration wanting to interview Shaukat Aziz about his knowledge of LeT rather than Musharraf!!

We know the US protects Pakistan, but it's worth noting that their protection also includes certain Pakee generals - even those who are supposedly "anti-American".

Sanjay M
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Postby Sanjay M » 24 Nov 2005 02:22

But truly, where does the US protective sentiment towards Pakistan come from? A section of the US foreign policy establishment, or across the board?

I've heard various voices in the US calling the AQ Khan revelations the worst debacle ever for US security. But who's arguing in the opposite direction?

It seems that the culprits are once again the Atlanticists, who value Pakistan too much as a bulwark against Moscow -- an oddly antiquated sense of priorities, considering that Moscow is today a far lesser power than what it was. Oh, the Pak-o-philes do wax poetically about Pakistan's criticality in the War on Terror, but somehow I think these voices are less concerned with capturing Osama than with preserving the possibility of jihadism against Russia.

It's worth it to know the exact motivations of the Pak-coddlers. Do old habits just die hard?

One might even ask -- would the US have acted differently towards Pakistan on the A Q Khan revelations had 9/11 and the ensuing War on Terror not happened? Can someone please answer this?

Tim
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Postby Tim » 24 Nov 2005 07:11

Sanjay M,

I'm not sure anyone can answer it. There's some evidence that Western intelligence agencies either didn't take AQ Khan very seriously or were letting him run (for reasons that haven't been explained) in the 1990s. Without 9/11, it's hard to tell what was going to happen.

US relations with Pakistan deteriorated significantly in the 1990s, and were really only resuscitated by 9/11 and OEF. So one could argue that AQ Khan would have been put under the wringer by the US in the absence of 9/11 - essentially, that the war on terror has given AQ Khan political cover.

On the other hand, the thing that really broke the AQ Khan story was the Libya revelation, which might not have been made if Qaddaffi hadn't been worried about US policy post-9/11. He was trying to talk his way back into a state of normal relations with the international system, but it's not clear he would have felt the kind of pressure that made him give up a promising and fairly sophisticated nuclear complex.

So I'm not sure there is an easy answer to your question. In some circumstances, Pakistan and AQ Khan would be under a great deal more pressure - but there's no way of knowing what those circumstances would be or whether they'd have arisen in the absence of 9/11.

But that's just my guess.

Tim

Rangudu
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Postby Rangudu » 24 Nov 2005 07:23

Tim,

I think you are leaving out an important point. There is substantial evidence that the US is willing to go any length to prevent the exposure of Pakistani malfeasance. Even where exposure is unavoidable, the US has been loath to allow Pakistan to be held to account.

Raj Malhotra
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Postby Raj Malhotra » 24 Nov 2005 09:07

And I always had this theory that AQK was CIA encouraged plant. The centriflukes don;t work and CIA was encouraging this technology to either put nations on wrong path or to get into their programme.

BB was the closest to West and she seemed to have really pushed AQK proliferation.

I think what the CIA did not bargain for was he will start peddling Chinese technology also.

Libya thingie gave a feather in the crown of Bushie, and now AQK network is busted to put pressure on other programmes like Iran.

Tim
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Postby Tim » 24 Nov 2005 09:42

Rangudu,

I'm not sure if that's a pre or post 9/11 phenomenon, and I wouldn't define it as starkly as you do (go to any lengths). Without 9/11, as Sanjay asked, would AQK have the current level of political invulnerability? I simply don't know - I think you can make the argument either way. Pressure to deal with AQK was increasing in the American system after about 2000, but it certainly hadn't reached critical mass (sorry - couldn't resist the bad pun) or consent among all the different agencies.

Raj,

My impression is that BB absolutely was not calling the shots on the nuclear issue in either of her administrations. Perhaps I've missed something, but certainly in the first administration there's every indication that Beg and Khan had a free hand, going to Iran and Iraq at a bare minimum.

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Postby Rangudu » 24 Nov 2005 09:52

Tim

If you look up quotes from Robert Einhorn after the AQK "confession," you'll see that the seriousness of Pakistani proliferation was long known to the US and every administration always chose not to confront Pakistan well before 9/11. The US definitely did not want to get to the next step despite overwhelming evidence. This is way more than just bureaucratic intertia. There were and likely still are people at all levels of US policy structure who just do not want to put it starkly to Pakistan, no matter what. Of course, post 9/11 was the sole exception, if what we are told is the real story.

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Postby Singha » 24 Nov 2005 10:11

formed Dutch PM Lubbers says they wanted to arrest AQK in 70s but was forced not to do so by CIA pressure. AQK probably double crossed the CIA at that stage, promising to deliver info on both Pak pgm and other buyers yet turning around and settling comfortably inside Pak from mid 1980s when the needed goods were in hand and PRC had also stepped into picture.

would be a damaging scandal for the CIA's rep if the inside details of this failure are made public. so it will remain covered up just like some pre 9/11 details of US 'interactions' with the taliban and fellow travellers, the saudi royals links to terrorist groups and so on.

kgoan
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Postby kgoan » 25 Nov 2005 04:59

As I've said before: One obvious explanation for US behaviour with respect to Pak nukes is because the Pak nuke program contains US tech in it.

i.e. The US helped Pak as they did the Israelis. This isn't to discount the Chinese role, but we'd be naive and more than a little idiotic, given US behaviour with Pakistan, to discount this explanation.

Of course, the US isn't China. (Or China isn't the US - however you wanna put it), so we'll keep our mouths shut about it, even if true.

But it's a possible explanation worth keeping in mind - and occasioally mentioning in passing. Becasue if its false, well no problem its just some half-assed rumour on a disreputable internet forum. And if something gets leaked indicating its correct, well then BR gets to be ahead of the curve again! :)

arun
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Postby arun » 04 Dec 2005 10:34

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