Pakistan Nuclear Proliferation - 02 October 2004

Gerard
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Postby Gerard » 27 Oct 2004 02:00

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3950173.stm

Pakistani nuclear scientist remains in custody

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Postby Rangudu » 27 Oct 2004 02:01

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1027/p03s01-usgn.html

Pakistan's disturbing nuclear trail

Materials from A.Q. Khan's black-market nuclear network remain unaccounted for.

By Faye Bowers | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON – It's been a year since US and British agents boarded a German ship in the Mediterranean Sea that led to the exposure of the unimaginable: a vast black-market nuclear arms bazaar operating under superpower radar for more than a decade.

Today, investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and some 20 countries working together have uncovered many parts of the clandestine network run by the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan. Just in the past month, three more people who allegedly acted as middlemen were arrested in South Africa.

The records confiscated from these men's companies, together with other confiscated documents and information from Dr. Khan and his top aides, have led to the virtual shutdown of the clandestine network.

But government officials and experts say that in today's world, where both major presidential candidates say nuclear proliferation is the nation's most critical security threat, much more needs to be done.

"Overall, the Khan network is the biggest nonproliferation disaster of the nuclear age," says Matthew Bunn, a nuclear expert at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. "It is certainly good news that at least the beginning of breaking up that network has occurred. Unfortunately, a substantial number of players in that network are still walking around free people."

Those walking free are probably additional businessmen, still unidentified, with specific technical capabilities to manufacture parts for centrifuges, the machines used to enrich uranium, a necessary ingredient for a nuclear bomb.

Moreover, Dr. Khan and his top aides remain free, or at least semi-free. Although Khan publicly admitted his guilt this past February, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him. Khan is said to be under house arrest in five costly mansions. His top aides are free as well, their movements apparently monitored.

Neither US nor IAEA investigators have been given access to Khan and his aides - a huge problem, investigators say, because they need to know if other countries besides Libya, North Korea, and Iran were offered Khan's plans and/or technology. For example, investigators in Iraq found records indicating that before the 1991 Gulf War, Khan offered Saddam Hussein, through a middleman, the same blueprints that he provided Libya.

Pakistani officials have interviewed Khan and his aides, and have "provided some information," says a Western diplomat close to the IAEA. "But they could provide much more."

Far more useful, say experts familiar with the network, have been documents confiscated in the raids on the various companies tied to the network - in Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Malaysia, Dubai, and South Africa.

The IAEA, the nuclear watchdog arm of the United Nations, has no leverage on Pakistani officials. The United States is widely seen as the only country with the clout to pressure Pakistan.

But Washington walks a fine line with Islamabad: It must avoid alienating the country, since it's crucial to the US war on terror. At the same time, however, by backing the Musharraf regime too much, the US could inflame Islamic radicals in the country, leading to the government's overthrow. Relations between the two nations are tenuous.

Still, on balance, many experts think the US could do more to persuade Pakistan to let IAEA investigators interview Khan. "For the US to leverage Musharraf so the IAEA could talk to Khan, how does that destabilize Pakistan?" asks David Albright, president of the Institute of Science and International Security in Washington.

US government officials, for their part, won't talk about how much information Musharraf has handed over, nor how much pressure they are applying. A CIA official said the State Department is the government's focal point for tracking the network. Secretary of State Colin Powell has only said he's speaking with Musharraf, who is cooperating.

Still, investigators and officials are concerned that Khan's plans and technology may have been passed to other unknown people or countries.

One top concern: Critical parts for the centrifuge remain unaccounted for, even though individuals and companies in some 30 countries have been apprehended and searched, IAEA officials say. That suggests that other companies or people, still not caught, may be able to produce the missing parts.

"There's no sense that all the information this network possessed - gas centrifuge or nuclear weapons design or fabrication - has been recovered," says Dr. Albright. "It's still out there and could be offered to others."

"The most disturbing sign found in Libya was the bomb blueprints," says the Western diplomat close to the IAEA. "Is there some hard disk somewhere that has all these designs and where are they?"

Melissa Fleming, an IAEA spokeswoman, says an intensive probe is under way. "We need to determine who all the players were, what was involved, who the customers were, and to what extent it has now been busted or contained."


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Postby daulat » 27 Oct 2004 02:24

is the strategic agreement between India and Iran basically putting Iran under Indian nuclear protection if Paks or Saudis (can you tell the difference) do some misadventuring? Or atleast a signal in that direction?

and actually iran is not really developing anything (anyway - it is years from weaponisation). unkil is sending warning shots across bows to tell India not to let this deal go too far?

does unkil fear that Peace-Munna II is about to start flexing borrowed muscles?

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Postby ramana » 27 Oct 2004 02:29

daulat, Hvve you read the writings of an expert on Shia-Sunni relations called Vali Nasr? He postulates that the Shia are on the rise and Iraqi Shias would give a boost to Arab Shiaism. And that would cause backlash from the Sunni leadership.

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Postby daulat » 27 Oct 2004 02:39

ramana wrote:daulat, Hvve you read the writings of an expert on Shia-Sunni relations called Vali Nasr? He postulates that the Shia are on the rise and Iraqi Shias would give a boost to Arab Shiaism. And that would cause backlash from the Sunni leadership.


no - but i am familar with the concept ;)

KSA and other gulf monarchs are quaking in their thobes at the thought of shia's on the rise... oh and they happen to live where all that oil is at :)

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Postby Tim » 27 Oct 2004 04:15

Daulat,

As an outside observer, I've never seen any official indication from India that they intend to offer a nuclear umbrella to anyone. Extended deterrence is a Western concept, and one generally rejected by Indian policy makers and analysts.

If India IS offering extended deterrence to Iran, that would be unusual, and might have a very itneresting effect on Indo-US relations. On the one hand, surely the Bush administration would be annoyed, since Iran is a member of the axis of evil. On the other hand, if there was evidence that Iran accepted that umbrella, it might open opportunities for the US to pursue nonproliferation efforts with Iran that currently appear stymied.

I doubt that India is making such an offer. But who knows?

Tim

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Postby Rangudu » 27 Oct 2004 04:17

Tim,

What's your take on the Indian scientists being sanctioned. Is there any evidence of wrongdoing there?

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 27 Oct 2004 07:11

What does an Indian "nuclear umbrella" to Iran imply, if such a concept were ever to be considered?

The "umbrella" is a promise to go nuke whoever attacks said umbrella-protectee, right?

So India would be promising to attack either Israel or US or both? I don't think dilli billis are that stupid.

OTOH, an agreement to cooperate in a liberation of Baluchistan might be fine.

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Postby JE Menon » 27 Oct 2004 10:36

There is no chance of India extending its deterrent capabilities beyond its borders. With Iran, there is a strategic understanding on various issues - and occasional tactical co-ordination for mutual benefit - at least that's the best that can be said based on public info.

In any event, Iran is not likely to accept coming under someone else's "umbrella" - remember what Khomeini said "neither East nor West". Iran will go nuclear at its own pace, without any help from India. The help that Pakistan has already given (and must now be regretting) was more than sufficient.

As for the US and Iran, they are playing it reasonably well - both sides, IMHO. Undoubtedly the Iraq factor has helped both sides see reason - i.e. the Iranians don't want to get into the situation that Iraq is in now, and the US does not want to get into "another Iraq". For the time being, at least, that's deterrent enough.

This interim will help Iran move ahead with its nuclear capability. However, during that time, the US will continue to seek to weaken Iran through Pakistan and other neighbouring countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey. Pakistan will be the pivot, without question, but it will need to be sated on some front - and that front will be J&K.

In other words, we need to expect the SD to get more activist on the issue. It is not a particular problem from ourside. We know how to deal with them in the current global scenario, which is quite suitable for our relative capabilities and our worldview in general.

The wildcards are third parties (Israel, or even Saudi/Pak) which may escalate (by war or thru their own "coming out") if Iran seems on the verge of nuclearisation.

To neutralise, we need to launch and engage in a sustainable diplomacy aimed at improving Iran-US relations - if we haven't already done so. Our people are more than capable of bridging the differences. That is, in fact, the only way both sides - i.e. the US and Iran - can be satisfied. It is not that the US simply does not want good relations with Iran; it just does not want them at a price that seems exhorbitant, i.e. congenital opposition to Israel, the peace process, nuclearisation. Given the right incentives, and these should be quite clear to the US side, Iranian decision makers can be induced to be flexible on all these fronts - especially if couched within the appropriate perspectives for a future Iran, given its demographics and the sentiments of Iranian youth.

A positive and well-structured relationship between the US and Iran would considerably ease the discomfort Washington is feeling in the Middle East -not to mention the business prospects which are now simply handed over to the EU/Russia/Japan. It's a pity. Probably the Iranians are the most US-friendly of the people in the Middle East next to the Israelis (maybe even more than the Israelis) as a percentage of the population.

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Postby daulat » 27 Oct 2004 12:24

i think that the Iranians are pragmatic - IMO they really do not fear nuclear attack from Israel or indeed the US, even the most rabid neo-con will opt for conventional war with Iran. No - the real worry for the Iranians is the Sunni-Shia divide and the role that a nuclear armed Pakistan might play... after all, it is the "Sunni-bomb" that is being brandished by Mushy.

India will certainly never guarantee protection against Israel or the US, but it might signal to Paks that Iran is not friendless. This suits India's national interests without actually having to do anything. The more Pak has to worry about Iran, Afghanistan, Turkemenistan... the less time they have for causing mischeif in Kashmir, Punjab, North East...

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Postby Sunil » 27 Oct 2004 18:21

When you don't want to risk having someone meet the foreign press, you keep him in custody because he might say something or leak something out that would be really unpleasant. That is the story of Mohammed Farooq. When the attention dies down - the person also dies in custody.

Tim,

Much as I would like to say something about extended deterrence and its implications in the Indian context, I am pressed for options on how best to make people understand the following things:

1) The Iranian proliferation activity is far less hazardous than Pakistani proliferation or Saudi proliferation for that matter. The Iranians are already an Islamist regime with an established set of national interests. Their Islamism is strongly hierarchical and contoured around the interests of the dominant class. This predisposes them towards rational deterrence. This is not the case in Pakistan or Saudia where both countries have nuclear weapons and are likely to undergo Islamist takeovers that could throw up leaders of questionable rationality. The threat isn't from Iran - it is from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

2) The presence of anti-US individuals in the top echelons of the conservative Iranian leadership lends great stability and consistency to Iranian foreign policy. These people act as a vital counter balance to Pakistan in the world and given the unpredictable nature of US-Pakistan and US-Saudia relations should be left alone for the greatest possible time - if nothing else then for the consistency they provide.

Now is not the time to be drawn into arguments that call for the ouster of the Iranian Islamist regime or to get nostalgic about the Shah and the fun times one had with him. Those days are gone for good. The result will be a mess many many times the scale of the current situation in Iraq.

More meaningful results could imo be achieved with Iran by engaging shia groups in Iraq and this imo should be the focus of policy making at the present time. As usual I know that such views are not popular given the "Cult of 1979" that rules the roost in the public policy debate on Iran in the US, but it is 2004 for crying out louds sake!

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Postby daulat » 28 Oct 2004 03:49

Tim - i think Sunil explains my concept of 'extended deterence' desi style pretty well. i don't think its about actual deterence, but the threat of a threat - just enough to deter Pakistan from thinking itself to be too big for its boots.

the US doesn't believe Iran to be rational, but they are - therein lies the problem.

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Postby AJay » 28 Oct 2004 20:44

enqyoob wrote:The "umbrella" is a promise to go nuke whoever attacks said umbrella-protectee, right?


Probably it is mroe like "whoever attacks with nucs the said umbrella-protcetee". In that case, US and Israel are not that stupid either, i.e. even US and Israel would use nukes on Iran unless all other avenues of reconstruction are exhausted. A lot of things can happen meanwhile.

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Postby khan » 29 Oct 2004 03:15

daulat wrote: No - the real worry for the Iranians is the Sunni-Shia divide and the role that a nuclear armed Pakistan might play... after all, it is the "Sunni-bomb" that is being brandished by Mushy.
It was the "Sunnys" that gave Iran the bomb. Iran isn't too worried about the Sunny's. The Shia-Sunny thing is history (for now). Iran's Nukes are/will be aimed directly at US and Israel, make no mistake about that.

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Postby Vivek_A » 29 Oct 2004 04:50

khan: If saudi arabia gets a nuke, it'll be to counter Iran....I agree that an Iranian nuke will be aimed at Israel and the US primarily, but don't ignore the shia-sunni factor completely.

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Postby karthik.k » 29 Oct 2004 05:11

sunil s wrote:The presence of anti-US individuals in the top echelons of the conservative Iranian leadership lends great stability and consistency to Iranian foreign policy. These people act as a vital counter balance to Pakistan in the world and given the unpredictable nature of US-Pakistan and US-Saudia relations should be left alone for the greatest possible time - if nothing else then for the consistency they provide.

I don't get this point. Could you please clarify ? The way I see it, Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iranain mullahs is only going to serve to make them even more radical and intransigent. That they might be stable is another point. Even then, why do you think that there is little possibility of rougue behaviour by the Iranian Armed Forces. There seems to be significant predisposition is towards fanaticism.

/kk

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Postby Abhijit » 29 Oct 2004 05:27

why do you think that there is little possibility of rougue behaviour by the Iranian Armed Forces. There seems to be significant predisposition is towards fanaticism.

I believe that Irani nuke compulsions are somewhat like Indian compulsions. Iran too, lives in a dangerous neighborhood with Pakis and Saudis who have ill-concealed animus towards a non-Arab Shia regime plus Israel who could do an Osirak with Iran any time - though a remote possibility. The difference in Paki/Saudi nukes Vs Irani nukes is the intent of proliferation. Who are Iranis going to proliferate to even if they wanted to? Syria, Libya ? What could the Iranis give them that these worthies could not or could not have obtained from Pakistan? And why would a Shia Iran proliferate to Sunny Syria or Libya or anybody else for that matter?
Irani nukes are a deterrent in its real sense - against Unkil, against Israel, against Pakis, against Saudis - just that at this point publicly Iran hasn't clearly demarketed its redlines against any of these adversaries - and that is because Iranis don't have the toys. Once they do, there will be clear demarkations of redlines.

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Postby ramana » 29 Oct 2004 06:30

Abhijit, It is not BR or India's case that Iran needs nukes. Iran signed the NPT as a non-nuclear power under the Shah. It is a sovreign commitment not to acquire those weapons for the successor regime. End of story. Tough neighborhood tough luck. Should have not signed it in first place.

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Postby Neshant » 29 Oct 2004 07:28

there's no hard & fast rule. countries like china and US which are party to the npt have been proliferating directly and indirectly all over the place.

the truth is everyone and his dog will have a nuke by the time the 21st century is over. its only a matter of time before Eyeran is self-sufficient in nuke technology to build one from scratch.

short of invading the country, there is no way it can be stopped.

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Postby JE Menon » 29 Oct 2004 14:02

Ramana has stressed a valid point. It is not India's case that Iran needs nukes, and nor will India help it acquire them or offer a protective umbrella. India will not become dependent on the rationality or otherwise of third parties whether it is nukes or any other matter. This is something which the US has not yet understood. If they did, their negotiations may have been more effective.

It appears that Washington's problem is essentially one of getting over the predisposition that a country with nukes will automatically behave irresponsibly. While there is reason to have such a predisposition, it is inexcusable that the US appears unable to fine tune its approach. To repeat back to the US what some of its officials have said with regard to Indian policies, Washington must not make what is best the enemy of what is good.

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Postby kgoan » 29 Oct 2004 19:42

>>It appears that Washington's problem is essentially one of getting over the predisposition that a country with nukes will automatically behave irresponsibly.

LOL!

Reminds me of that old saying about a thief who could never believe that others could be honest or the one about a liar not being able to understand that others don't lie.

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Postby ramana » 29 Oct 2004 20:01

kg, speaking about lying here are some rules :
Never tell a lie. For reputation is very valuable. However the world is a bad place and even a satyavadi like Yudhishtir had to tell a lie. That leads us to second law.
Never tell a lie on things that can be verified. And this leads to third law,
Never tell a small lie. If you are going to be damned, better be damned for a big lie than a small lie.

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Postby Rye » 29 Oct 2004 20:13

Rule No. 2 in Ramana-garu's laws of lying (with which I am in complete agreement)
Never tell a lie on things that can be verified.


Corollary, a plausibly deniable explanation must always fudge/spin the facts on unverifiable claims in a manner convenient to the agenda at hand.

For the record, by now, pakis are famous for not following any of the above rules.

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Postby Sarma » 29 Oct 2004 20:24

Looks like China has taken Ramana's lessons on lies to heart and has executed them faithfully.

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Postby Abhijit » 29 Oct 2004 20:38

I agree completely that it is neither's BR's nor India's case that Iran needs nukes. In fact it is none of our business in any way. I was responding to Karthik's point
why do you think that there is little possibility of rougue behaviour by the Iranian Armed Forces. There seems to be significant predisposition is towards fanaticism.
which sounds pretty much like US POV that any nuke aspirant is rogue to start with. My point is that even if Iran acquires nukes, it is of no concern to us and we need not fall into a trap of jumping about any other nation acquiring nukes since our neighborhood is already saturated with nukes. Basically no skin off our nose.

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Postby Sunil » 29 Oct 2004 20:47

karthik.k wrote:I don't get this point. Could you please clarify ? The way I see it, Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iranain mullahs is only going to serve to make them even more radical and intransigent. That they might be stable is another point. Even then, why do you think that there is little possibility of rougue behaviour by the Iranian Armed Forces. There seems to be significant predisposition is towards fanaticism.
/kk


Hi,

This is precisely the line of argument I am trying to get past.

The Mullahs are radical and intransigent if you go after their interests. Domestically, the Mullah relies on a visible adherence to Islamic norms as a measure of public subservience - so that is why they appear radical. This is no different from any government in any other country. The public has to bend before rule of law - and in Iran the Mullahs make the law - that is all. Internationally - the Mullahs have certain long term economic and political interests. This interests are stable or will evolve predictably. As long as you don't get in their way - there should be no trouble.

In the context of Iran, it so happened that the Mullahs became a vehicle for anti-incumbency against the Shah. Now as the shah was intimately tied to US economic interests, the US entered into a confrontation with the Mullahs and that turned into the mess we saw in the 80s. The US is no longer in direct conflict with the Mullahs over economic interests. So there is no real cause for concern. The proliferation threat from Iran is miniscule compared to the threat in Pakistan and KSA.

It is there imo that the bulk of resources at determining proliferation extent should be devoted. I don't think people get this but in a proliferation situation, the ladder of escalation is very hazy, so concepts like deterrence are weak. One response to this is -"nuke 'em
all!"... another response is "evaluate the threat - improve risk analysis on each step". I prefer the latter.

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Postby kgoan » 30 Oct 2004 10:12

Re: Sunil's thesis on the nuclear aspect of the Conflict Economy. Guess who joins in? Yes the Good General Beg of Pakistan.

BTW, note that the Iran-Pak link, is virtually a creation of Beg and his role on Pakistan's response during Desert Storm a decade plus ago. So Beg was fileted out of his job by the US, and the General Babar/Benazir creation called the Taliban were anti-Iranian enough to satisfy the US.

But Beg was also central in the BCCI link with the Pak nukes.

So keep that and Sunil's "confict economy" thesis in mind while reading the following.

From: http://www.dawn.com/2004/10/30/op.htm#4

Why non-proliferation has failed
By Mirza Aslam Beg

A nation's response to intimidations and threats depends upon its national character. Responses are determined by the psycho-social realities, which generate resilience to withstand the challenges. Iran possesses an inherent capability to face and absorb the multi-directional onslaught of threats to its integrity and sovereignty.

Such are the nuclear security concerns of Iran, that it has rejected the European offer for trade concessions for abandoning the enrichment of uranium. The threat of sanctions and embargoes will meet the same fate as the lucrative offers of the European Three.

Could Iran be subjected to the same fate as Osirik - the Iraqi nuclear facility - met in 1981 at the hands of Israel? Certainly not because Iran would be reacting quite differently from what may be expected as it is prepared to face even an all-out war.

Implicit is the assumption that Iran is fully cognizant of the threat to its security and is not likely to barter away its interests for any temporary gains. Iran is prepared to consider the request to suspend uranium enrichment only with the proviso that it does not "contradict the Islamic Republic's criteria" as expressed by Hassan Rohani, the nuclear negotiator. It unequivocally implies that Iran will not compromise on abandoning its programme of enrichment of Uranium, for peaceful purposes.

In 1979, Iran faced aggression by Iraq. The United States, in particular, wanted to destroy the 'axis of evil' and hard liners like Henry Kissinger wished "both [Iran and Iraq] kill each other" to serve the geo-political security interests of Israel.

Iran's neighbours, Pakistan and the rest of the world, abandoned it to its fate. Iran fought back single-handedly and after eight years of struggle, resulting in millions of dead and wounded, succeeded in crossing the Shatt-al-Arab.

As it deployed its forces in the Faw peninsula, poised for offensive towards Basra, Saddam Hussein struck with chemical weapons - the weapons of mass destruction supplied by the 'civilized world'.

In one single attack, 15,000 Iranian troops died or were wounded. The offensive towards Basra was halted, because Iran had no capability to defend itself against weapons of mass destruction and called for ceasefire.

Today Iran is fully capable of answering the threats and cannot be coerced into submission. The reasons are obvious, as can be concluded from the following: * Iran has very little trust in the United Nations, United States or Europe and their guarantees. The bitter memories of the unjust war of 1979 and the use of weapons of mass destruction of 1987 are still fresh in their memory. This has persuaded them to go nuclear.

* Forced Isolation, mutual distrust, continued disrespect for Iranian dignity by calling it a "rogue state and axis of evil" and threats from nuclear capable Israel, has prompted Iran to acquire weapons of mass destruction, to correct the imbalance.

It is immaterial, whether they are helped by Indian scientists or Pakistanis or any other, because, a nation with determination, will in any case acquire the capability. Pakistan did it in a short period of 10 years. Iran may well have succeeded in acquiring the nuclear capability by now.

* Iranians have also developed missiles, as means of delivery to engage targets in Israel, thus putting pressure on Israel to refrain from attacking Iranian nuclear installations. Thus the nuclear imbalance seems to have been corrected in the Middle Eastern region.

At this point in time, Iran and Israel, now appear to be where Pakistan and India stood during the 1990 nuclear standoff. Fear of retaliation now deters Israel, that is "mindful of the consequences of attack on Iranian nuclear installations."

* Iran's nuclear capability is Israel-specific, same as Pakistan's capability is India-specific. It deters the friends of Israel also, who, under the present circumstances, do not have the physical capability to attack Iran, because of over-stretched resources and commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Air power alone can cause only collateral damage, but cannot help win a war.

* Iranian national security adviser and nuclear negotiator, Hussain Monsavian says: "Mistrust is bilateral. If the Americans and the Europeans do not trust Iran, we cannot trust them either."

The mistrust is likely to increase further and add to the prevailing tension, because, the American strategy of engagement suggests military options without bombing Iran, in order to step up pressure, creatively to contain and deter Iran.

"Steps could include increasing US military presence around Iran; reinforcing the region's protection against missiles extending an explicit nuclear umbrella to those threatened by Tehran; transferring more advanced weapons to the states around Iran; and so on. All these measures, as a package, could show Tehran that Iranians will be less secure if it pursues nuclear weapons".

It will be unwise to impose sanctions on Iran, because the developed world cannot afford to lose 2.5 million barrel a day supply of oil. In a situation of war the Gulf of Hurmuz may also be closed, creating a serious energy security crisis, for the world at large, buying oil at over US$ 55 a barrel.

An elegy should be written on the nuclear non-proliferation regime as it has proved a lamentable effort in achieving its objectives. It failed in its purpose because its rules of business are discriminatory.

Pakistan corrected the nuclear imbalance in South Asia as a national security imperative. Iran is attempting to do the same in the Middle Eastern region. South Korea, perhaps, is not far behind in correcting the balance in the Far Eastern region, with its nuclear programme far more advanced than that of Iran.

It is therefore, not difficult to discern and identify the "nuclear fault-line", extending from Israel to Iran, Pakistan to India and South Korea to North Korea. How, the new balance of terror will be managed from the Pacific to the Mediterranean is a task for those who have to frame the rules of business for the non-proliferation regime of the twenty-first century.

Iran possibly cannot renege on demands of national security because of mutual distrust, threats of war, sanctions, forced isolation, discrimination and the humiliation of being labelled "axis of evil and rogue state".

The writer is a former chief of the army staff.

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Postby karthik.k » 30 Oct 2004 16:36

AbhijitST & Sunil S,
Rogue behaviour need not be proliferation alone. What about an Iranian JDAM in Tel Aviv ? Iran with nukes will exactly be an copy of Pakistan wrt to its behaviour towards India. We have strategic compulsions behind our relations with Iran, but that need not translate into supporting a position that could well result in setting the entire ME on fire.
How much does the IrA resemble the PA in terms of their support structure for jihadis ? Are they clearly delineated or is there deep and close contact between the two. Is there a significant Jihadi component in the Iranain Armed Forces itself ? How sympathetic are the lower/middle level officers with the Palestinans ? How deep runs their hatred towrds Israel ? Could somebody please weigh in about these issues too ?
/kk

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2004 17:33

What about an Iranian JDAM in Tel Aviv ? Iran with nukes will exactly be an copy of Pakistan wrt to its behaviour towards India.


That's not going to happen because unlike the paki leadership, the Iranian leadership has the brains to do long term strategic thinking and will not do anything that will push Iran into war/confrontation.

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Postby ldev » 30 Oct 2004 18:15

because unlike the paki leadership, the Iranian leadership has the brains to do long term strategic thinking


Rye,

This is not a facetious question, but are there any public sources which support this contention? My thinking leans towards the belief that the Iranian leadership is predisposed towards fanatisism given their bellicose threats towards Israel, with whom they do not even share a common border or frankly have any territorial dispute unlike Pakistan with India. Why the hatred if not for the shia brand of Islamic fanatisism? Given that the mullah leadership came to power 25 years ago in a violent upheaval which has since seen all minorities being ethnically cleansed from Iran, this leadership does not inspire much confidence IMO. Any understanding that India has with them re Pakistan is understable, but nothing more.

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2004 18:35

ldev:
Given that the mullah leadership came to power 25 years ago in a violent upheaval which has since seen all minorities being ethnically cleansed from Iran, this leadership does not inspire much confidence IMO.


ldev,

The mullahs are not kind and gentle people definitely, but IMO they are rational enough to protect their power, in a Musharraf sense, except they seemed to be endowed with more intelligence, self-respect, and reasoning abilities than the paki leadership.

If we move the clock back a little further back, Iran was a successful democracy in 1952, when the US destroyed a democratically elected Iranian govt. run by Mossadegh and replaced him with a tyrannical shah or Iran. This is why the Iranians a special place reserved in their hearts for the Americans. This also feeds american perception that the Mullahs are dangerous religious fanatics who must be removed from power. But consider this, During Madeleine Albright's tenure in 1996, the FIRST EVER delegation of Iranian mullahs were to visit the US towards more friendly relations. In what has to be one of the more unspectacular screwups by the US govt., these Iranian clergy were given a full body cavity search in the US after they landed, and I am not kidding here. The mullahs refused to enter the US and returned to Iran, and issued an open statement on their return saying that the US is not interested in friendly relations with Iran, and they were right.

The mullahs are definitely authoritarian in many ways, but their hold on younger generations of Iranians seems to be getting weaker....so this is a "matter of time" thing, IMO.

Okay, so none of the above really sheds any light on the matter that Iranian leadership is totally rational, but that is perhaps the reason why there is the disclaimer "if the Iranians do anything silly, like openly violate the NPT which was signed under the Shah, then they are on their own" from an Indian perspective. I cannot really post a single link to prove my assertion, but will try to post more Iran-related posts I come across that seem to point to this.

Any understanding that India has with them re Pakistan is understable, but nothing more.


India has bigger fish to fry with Iran, and Iran is a valuable ally in containing pakistan. What that means is that it is upto India to make sure that Iranian and Indian interests are the same in the region, which will tighten the screws on our adversaries. So, just focussing on pakistan with Iran seems too shortsighted and not a sufficiently strong link between India and Iran to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
Last edited by Rye on 30 Oct 2004 19:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 30 Oct 2004 19:03

Should have not signed it in first place.


Why don't they get out like NoKo?

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Postby Sunil » 30 Oct 2004 19:08

Hi Karthik,

The threat of a Pakistani JDAM attack on Tel Aviv imo is more credible than the threat of a Iranian JDAM attack. This is principly because the Iranian regime despite all the claims of their non-nuclear status would have no deniability. The Pakistanis on the other hand have a get out of jail free card with Musharraf's picture on it.

An Iran with nukes will only be superficially similar to a Pakistan with nukes. For one the Iranians unlike the Pakistanis don't control 60% of the world's heroin trade. This makes them more manageable. Also the Iranians unlike the Pakistanis are a real nation with a vision of national integration that goes beyond a compulsive sense of hostility.

There is absolutely no way to make Iran give up its nuclear option. That is a fallacy that is unsustainable. The idea of airstrike to remove Bushehr is absolute nonsense. The only thing that is going to be achieved by making provocative statements and exerting lateral pressure on Iran is that one is going to drive the Mullahs into paranoia. When you do that they will get seriously p*ssed and enter the nuclear blackmarket with a vengeance. While some of the non-proliferation gurus in Washington D.C. may think this is a great idea, it isn't such a great idea for us in India or in Israel. It is vital from our prespective to have the Iranians make their nuclear choices in a rational and benign fashion.

As I stated earlier, the purpose of the non-proliferation policy structure is to impose the nuclear apartheid and to legitmize the activities of people like A Q Khan. By driving Iran into the arms of people like A Q Khan - one fosters a dangerous instability where risk evaluation becomes impossible. There have been terrible errors in evaluating risks vis-a-vis Iran, it would be a real tragedy if this were repeated.

M A Beg is the uncrowned king of the proliferation blackmarket. Most of the hard work in building the nuclear blackmarket was done by him, GIK and other Pakistani big names in the 80s. And look at him today, he and durrani and company are all the rock stars of the Non-Prol community - they are treated like kings when they should all be in front of an international court for crimes against humanity. Instead Beg and his boys run think tanks and are invited speakers at Non-Prol conferences. That Durrani fellow, he is the darling of the non-proliferation euro sluts and east asian ***** stars - what are his credentials? will people view them differently if the details of Pak-Saudi nuclear cooperation come out?

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Postby kgoan » 30 Oct 2004 20:43

Actually, ldev, Rye there is just such a document.

A long time back, in early 2001 sometime, BR discussed a document which was a transcript of a seminar between the lunatics in Mazaris ISSI and a delegation of Iranian Foreign policy experts.

That article was, I think, largely responsible for BR's re-evaluation of Iran, (although JEM had been cautioning us against classifying Iran as an enemy before that article was posted, he was pretty much a lone voice), and this re-evaluation has only been confirmed in the last couple of years.

The article is too long to post here, but lemme know your email and I'll send it to you.

Added later: ldev, check your email.
Last edited by kgoan on 30 Oct 2004 21:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ldev » 30 Oct 2004 20:53

Kgoan,

Please send it to warpspeed59 at yahoo.com

Thanks

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Postby dipesh.c » 30 Oct 2004 21:48

Rye wrote:
What about an Iranian JDAM in Tel Aviv ? Iran with nukes will exactly be an copy of Pakistan wrt to its behaviour towards India.


That's not going to happen because unlike the paki leadership, the Iranian leadership has the brains to do long term strategic thinking and will not do anything that will push Iran into war/confrontation.


Wow, what makes you think so? A bunch of Mullahs with brains and vision? I don't think so.

Quoted further:

"India has bigger fish to fry with Iran, and Iran is a valuable ally in containing pakistan. What that means is that it is upto India to make sure that Iranian and Indian interests are the same in the region, which will tighten the screws on our adversaries. So, just focussing on pakistan with Iran seems too shortsighted and not a sufficiently strong link between India and Iran to achieve mutually beneficial goals."

What goals are you talking about? Also it would be India's BIG mistake to depend on Iran for strategic interests..Ultimately the US WILL take them out...Iran isn't a valuable ally...More like "barely an ally"...These incompetent muslim countries(Pakis,Iranians,Iraqis) love to fight each other now and then...But in the end they tend to work with each other...Iran will backstab India eventually if we ally...India only should be looking at how to best use Iran and then discard the ba#$*&@#...

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2004 22:47

Kgoan,

could you mail me that doc. to raasanayagam at yahoo dot co dot in
please? Thanks much

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Postby Rye » 30 Oct 2004 23:06

What goals are you talking about? Also it would be India's BIG mistake to depend on Iran for strategic interests


It is not like India's entire foreign policy is going to beholden by Iran, but having an ally that can apply pressure on pakistan, as long as India and Iran both have a mutually beneficial relationship, like Iran has with many countries in the EU, Iran cannot be so easily shoved around. Besides, we need to look in the longer time scale, so even if the US does attack Iran, we need to continue this present policy even after such an attack. Keeping Iran as an ally is just good sense all around.

..Ultimately the US WILL take them out..


That would depend on whether it gives the US a legit reason to take them out. I do not believe that the US can pull another "search for weapons of mass destruction", but only as loing as Iran is openly pursuing peaceful nuclear uses. Yes, the US may/will try real hard to follow the wolfowitz doctrine and try to "remake Iran", and depending on how much arm twisting they can do to get EU countries on board to attack Iran too, and that is where I think attacking Iran would have even less global support than attacking Iraq...let us see what they end up doing in Iraq first.

.Iran isn't a valuable ally...More like "barely an ally"...These incompetent muslim countries(Pakis,Iranians,Iraqis) love to fight each other now and then...


Well, if you read the news about the goings on in Iran, then you would not really lump pakistan along with it. The point is to mould the future to India's benefit using what ever means necessary, which the MEA is in charge of.

But in the end they tend to work with each other...Iran will backstab India eventually if we ally....


Well, "backstabbing" that can cause serious damage can only happen if India "trusts" Iran and places its own reputation on the line, and the GoI will not be doing that any time soon. Besides, the bureaucrats in the MEA have been around the block a few times with Iran. For example, helping the oppressed people of Balochistan achieve independence and a stable relationship with Iran, and a stable balochistan can help India with its energy concerns.etc. etc.

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Postby VikramS » 30 Oct 2004 23:43

dipesh.c wrote:Wow, what makes you think so? A bunch of Mullahs with brains and vision? I don't think so.



I am curious about how you came up with such an opinion about Iran. It is one of the few functioning democracy in the Muslim world. It may not be perfect but it is there.

From a scientific and technichal point of view they are clear leaders. The Iran-Iraq war was thrust upon them by Saddam following Uncle's commands.

More importantly, Iran does not define its identity based on Islam. They do not claim to be the leaders of the Ummah. They do not have a grand illusions of being the pre-eminent power of the Ummah. This is very different from the tactically brilliant generals of the TSP. As sunil s posted, they are rational in following their national interests and they are unlikelty to act in a manner which affects their national interest.


Islam was used as a rallying cry against the Shah. However in the past two decades their influence of the mullahs has been decreasing. There is a tug of war going on between the hardliners and moderates. A lot of young Iranis use old pre-Islamic Persion names for their children. Islam does not drefine Iran; they have their own identity separate from Islam.

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Postby Kumar » 31 Oct 2004 00:33

Vikram,

Iran does support bunch of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. I think its head honchos do believe in the Ummah although common people may be getting tired of it.

I think the key point being emphasized here is this: that despite its past steeped in Islamic revolution and its support for terrorist organizations as well as a desire to be the leader of the Islamic world, Iran has become tired of all that. In that sense it is reformable. A blunt approach by USA as in Iraq, will actually make the matters worse and may strengthen the fundamentalists.


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