David J. Jonsson
November 4, 2006
Nuclear proliferation is once again at the top of the U.S. national security agenda, spurred by the progress of weapons programs in North Korea and as the Iranian government announced last week a doubling of its uranium enrichment program. The chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, praised “the fasting people taking part in the rally [who] are chanting slogans such as ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel.’” His speech was on Quds Day, an Iranian holiday introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini that is marked on the last Friday of Ramadan.
In my article of August 7, 2006: The Origins of the Next Great War are Visible, I said, “With every passing year following the events of 9/11 the rise of Leftist/Marxist-Islamist Alliance has increased global instability. By the beginning of 2006, nearly all the combustible ingredients–far bigger in scale than those leading to World Wars 1 and 11 and the Gulf Wars of 1991 or 2003–were in place.” The question remains as to whether we face a Nuclear Holocaust or an Economic Holocaust as I described in my paper, Structural Changes–Destruction Of The U.S. Dollar.
“A nuclear Iran means, at the very least, a realignment of power dynamics in the Persian Gulf. It could potentially mean much more: a historic shift in the position of the long-subordinated Shiite minority relative to the power and prestige of the Sunni majority, which traditionally dominated the Muslim world. Many Arab Sunnis fear that the moment is ripe for a Shiite rise. Iraq’s Shiite majority has been asserting the right to govern, and the lesson has not been lost on the Shiite majority in Bahrain and the large minorities in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah of Jordan has warned of a “Shiite crescent” of power stretching from Iran to Lebanon via Iraq and (by proxy) Syria.” See also: Caliphatism - Establishing the “Islamic Kingdom of God on Earth“
Today in fact, things appear to be heating up in Mideast. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) entered the Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, after transiting the Suez Canal Oct. 30, on a deployment in support of maritime security operations (MSO). The Enterprise group was relieved by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which departed Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 3 and transited the Suez Canal on Oct. 30. The two carriers steamed side-by-side in the Red Sea on Oct. 31.
It is important to recognize that the Islamists, Russia or China controls all oil transit choke points. Over 40 million barrels per day of oil moves by tanker, in may cases through . Bab el-Mandab--Djibouti/Eritrea/Yemen; connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. 3 million-bbl/d flows through this choke point. Suez/Sumed-- Egypt; connects the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez with the Mediterranean Sea. Oil Flows (2004E): 3.8 million bbl/d northbound, and 0.4 million bbl/d southbound. Northbound shipments consisted of 2.5 million bbl/d of crude oil via the Sumed Pipeline (nearly all of which came from Saudi Arabia), 0.8 million bbl/d of crude oil via the Suez Canal, and 0.5 million bbl/d of petroleum products via the Suez Canal. Southbound oil flows through the Suez Canal totaled 0.3 million bbl/d of petroleum products, and 0.1 million bbl/d of crude oil.
Somali Islamists fired test rockets on November 3, 2006 and prepared for war with the government as the United States warned of possible suicide attacks against neighboring countries. "The onus is on us to start the fight. We will be the first to strike," one senior Islamist commander, Maalim Hashi Ahmed, told Reuters by telephone.
Washington accuses the Islamists of harboring al Qaeda militants and has asked for them to be handed over.
The U.S. warning came amid growing fears of a regional war after the Islamists and government failed to meet face-to-face during three days of talks in Sudan. The negotiations were postponed on Wednesday with mediators urging both sides to exercise maximum restraint.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on all sides involved in Somalia not to escalate tensions. Ethiopia's enemy Eritrea has been accused of arming the Islamists.
"There are concerns that the situation, the current situation in Somalia, might lend itself to wider violence in the region. And we're doing everything we can to see that that does not happen," McCormack said.
According to a Stratfor report: “Many outside governments fear Somalia will become a training ground for jihadists, and that SICC recruits foreign fighters. This concern was reinforced Oct. 9 when SICC leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed -- formerly seen abroad as SICC's moderate face -- declared a jihad against Ethiopia, which he said had sent 35,000 troops to the defense of Somalia's interim government. Ahmed's likely exaggeration of Ethiopian troop levels -- which more realistically consist of several hundred troops in-country and a several-thousand strong ready-reserve in Ethiopia -- is seen as a tactic to inflame nationalist and Islamist sentiment that Somalians are unjustly suffering from anti-Islamic foreign interference.
Having had its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombed by jihadists operating out of the region, Washington wants to prevent the Horn of Africa from being used again by jihadists to attack U.S. interests. Following the 9/11 attacks, the United States established the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa command center in Djibouti. Countries within the region, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, share these concerns about Islamist threats. Ethiopia and Uganda are fighting Islamist insurgency groups that the SICC could support, while Kenya wants to prevent the SICC from becoming a threat to Kenya's internal security and stability by interfering with Kenya's sizeable Muslim and ethnic Somali population. These shared concerns could result in greater cooperation with the United States.
“A senior U.S. official insisted the exercise is not aimed specifically at Iran, although it reinforces a U.S. strategy aimed at strengthening America’s ties with states in the Gulf, where Tehran and Washington are competing for influence.” Such actions raise the question: Who is the enemy? Is the enemy simply the terrorists joined with the “Axis of Evil” or should we be considering the “Oil Axis” – the alliance of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela. If it is the latter, America and Western Europe must evaluate their options with respect to Russia and China. Remember that Russia has the stated goal of utilizing energy control for establishing geopolitical supremacy. Russia now controls the gas supply for Europe and jointly with Iran has a major control of gas and oil supply to Japan. Without the support of Russia and China neither Iran nor North Korea could continue their nuclear weapons program.
“How many Americans realize that Iran declared war on us 27 years ago - in 1979 - and has been killing Americans ever since…North Korea, the world’s leading missile proliferators, and Iran are on the verge of starting nuclear arms races in both Asia and the Middle East - both hubs of terrorist networks that reach around the world - which could easily result in nuclear material, perhaps even a weapon, ending up in the hands of a terrorist organization. Did you know that Venezuela is the leading buyer of arms and military equipment in the world today? Did you know that Chavez is building an army of more than a million soldiers and the most potent air force in South America-the largest Spanish-speaking armed force in history? Did you know that Venezuela will shortly spend thirty billion dollars to build twenty military bases in neighboring Bolivia, which will dominate the borders with Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil? Venezuelan and Cuban officers will command the bases. This is what the brilliant Carlos Alberto Montaner-a survivor of Castro’s bloody regime-calls “a delirious vision of history,” and it is driven by a new alliance of dictators from Iran, Cuba and Venezuela
It is part of the grand design so proudly announced by Ahmadinejad: the destruction of our civilization.” [This is portion of text of a speech Republican senator Rick Santorum delivered around his state October 26, 27].
According to a Reuters Report on November 2, 2006, Iran fires missiles in war games, “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired missiles carrying cluster warheads to shouts of “God is the Greatest” at the start of 10 days of military maneuvers on Thursday, state television reported. “Dozens of missiles were fired including Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles. The missiles had ranges from 300 km (190 miles) up to 2,000 km (1,240 miles),” Iran’s main state television channel reported… As they rose, Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards who gave the firing order, and other Guardsman were heard shouting: “God is the Greatest.”
“Russia surpassed the United States in 2005 as the leader in weapons deals with the developing world, and its new agreements included selling $700 million in surface-to-air missiles to Iran and eight new aerial refueling tankers to China, according to a new Congressional study. Russia’s agreements with Iran are not the biggest part of its total sales — India and China are its principal buyers. But the sales to improve Iran’s air-defense system are particularly troubling to the United States because they would complicate the task of Pentagon planners should the president order air strikes on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities…The Russian sales in 2005 included 29 of the SA-15 Gauntlet surface-to-air missile systems for Iran; Russia also signed deals to upgrade Iran’s Su-24 bombers and MIG-29 fighter aircraft, as well as its T-72 battle tanks.”
President Ahmadinejad gave a series of speeches leading up to and on Quds Day. At an Iftar address on October 14, he discussed his “connection with God” and said: “The president of America is like us. That is, he too is inspired ... but [his] inspiration is of the satanic kind. Satan gives inspiration to the president of America.”
“According to Mullah Khaz-Ali, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, President Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah, are members of the Assembly of World Islamic Order, which will soon be finalized by the Hidden Imam when he emerges from hiding.”
“The Assembly of Experts is the 86-cleric organ [no women & no non-clergy] that can select and, if need be, dismiss the Wali al-Faqih, the man who rules the Islamic Republic with limitless powers. At the moment the Wali al-Faqih is Khamenei.”
“Mullah Khaz-Ali, speaking at a meeting of the Hidden Imam exhibition, congratulated and embraced Ahmadinejad. “I kissed Ahmadinejad,” he said, “because it was he who popularized our Hidden Imam in that land where those filthy jerks run their Great Satan government. Yes, he and Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah steadfastly persevere our Hidden Imam. They are in fact in direct contact with the Hidden Imam but they’re being modest about it! The reason for the delay in the emergence of the Ruler of All Time is the low level of intellect and culture in society; the foundations must be cultivated. Stupid people have some shame and come to your senses.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad delivered his Quds Day speech under a banner that read, “ Israel must be wiped off the face of the world.” He described the holiday as “a day for confrontation between the Islamic faith with the global arrogance.”
The chairman of the Expediency Council and a former Iranian president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, [a self-proclaimed moderate] who led Friday prayers, said Quds Day is an important factor “between Islam and unbelief and the stage for Muslims’ jihad.” He added, “The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims back this jihad.”
Mr. Rafsanjani also led Quds Day prayers on December 14, 2001. Then, he warned of a coming confrontation between the “pious and martyrdom-seeking forces” and the “highest forces of colonialism,” which “might inflame a third World War.”
Sadly, Mr. Rafsanjani is considered one of Iran’s more moderate leaders.
The celebrations included proclamations by the country’s leaders and activities for university students and artists.
Isfahan University’s Mechanical Energy College took first place in a Quds Day competition for its design of a pilotless plane that can be used for “suicide attacks.” The director of the Iranian Broadcasting Organization of Music Production, Mohammad Mirzamani, composed a symphony dedicated to “the victory over the Zionist regime,” and the country’s religious Web logs were told to report on all the festivities.
Opinions differ as to how to deal with the potential for nuclear proliferation. On the one hand, there are those who believe we can arrest or at least delay proliferation and others – the realists who are addressing what to do as more states go nuclear. Hawks have pushed for regime change or military strikes, whereas doves have favored arms control, negotiation and some even appeasement. But few decision-makers are seriously considering what a post-proliferation world would look like, even though such a world would inevitably require rethinking many of the policies that the U.S. government and others now take for granted.
The reality of the present world situation is that nuclear proliferation might have to continue a while longer before it can be halted or slowed down: were nuclear tests and /or a terrorist event to be conducted in full view again—the North Korea tests were not sufficient for a wakeup call, the current generation of policymakers and their constituents might realize that the use of even a small number of nuclear weapons would lead to intolerable destruction.
The time for renewing a nuclear/security strategy is necessary in an age of proliferation. Even fewer politicians and their constituents are suggesting that such an assessment must address the political, economic, environment, education and energy aspects.
The primary question is: What should the U.S. do about the growing proliferation risk and what can we do as individuals or as a group?
John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address spoke these famous words:
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
The reducing of the threat of nuclear proliferation cannot be accomplished exclusively through military action, political negotiation, appeasement and sanctions, it requires addressing political, economic, energy, education and even the environment.
Possible examples of individual actions include: not purchasing products made in countries which support goals that are not consistent with good human rights policies, against liberty and freedom and are anti-American. Another is not investing in companies supporting these countries, providing the banking services and building their economies. Economic action is a powerful tool, but the country using this tool must remain economically strong and endure certain hardships.
The hawks argue that nuclear proliferation has been stopped before, and it can and should be stopped in the case of Iran and North Korea as well. Unfortunately, with Tehran—as with some of its predecessors—the price for Washington will be relinquishing the threat of regime change by force. We have learned from prior experiences with India and Pakistan in the 1980’s and 1990’s sanctions only increase the costs of going nuclear; they do not reduce the ability of a determined government to get the bomb.
The NPT system proved reasonably successful for quite a long while. Although they are less discussed than the failures, the nonproliferation successes—the nuclear dogs that did not bark—are more numerous. Many non-nuclear-weapons states did continue to develop nuclear energy facilities after the NPT was signed, and some—such as Japan, with its massive plutonium stockpile—kept nuclear materials and continued their nuclear research in case the NPT regime fell apart. (Uncertainty about the treaty was so strong at first that Japan and other non-nuclear states insisted that they be allowed to review and renew their membership every five years.) But the NPT and U.S. security guarantees eventually reduced those countries’ interest in proliferation. Other U.S. allies were caught cheating— most notably South Korea in the 1970s and Taiwan in the 1980s— but they ended suspected military-related activities when Washington confronted them and threatened to withdraw its security assistance. Egypt sought nuclear weapons in the early 1960s, but it signed the NPT in 1968 and ratified it in 1979 after striking a peace deal with Israel that reduced its national security concerns. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine were nuclear powers from the moment of their independence, having inherited arsenals when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But they soon handed over the weapons to Russia in exchange for economic assistance, highly limited security assurances from the United States, and a chance to join the NPT in good standing. The NPT has been enough of a success that at the 1995 NPT Review Conference, all 178 states that had ratified it agreed to extend it permanently.
However, the NPT no longer is an effective tool for the control of the spread of nuclear proliferation.
Although most analysis deals with states going nuclear, the nuclear proliferation and the availability of nuclear materials opens the issue of dealing with transnational organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and other related entities.
During the Cold War, most analysts considered it unlikely that nuclear weapons would be used during peacetime; they worried more about the possibility of a nuclear conflict somehow emerging out of a conventional war. That scenario would still be the most likely in a post-proliferation future as well, but the frequency of conventional wars in the Middle East would make it a less comforting prospect. If a nuclear-armed ballistic missile were launched while conventional fighting involving non-nuclear-armed ballistic missiles was going on in the region, how confident would any government be that it could identify the party responsible? The difficulty would be greater still if an airplane or a cruise missile, or even a suitcase were used to deliver the nuclear weapon.
One of the greatest fears about Iran or other rogue nation’s possible acquisition of nuclear weapons, moreover, is that the entity might give them to a terrorist group, which would dramatically increase the likelihood of their being used. In some cases, for example Pakistan did not transfer the technology, but A.O. Khan an engineer did transfer the technology—purportedly without approval of the government. This technology transfer was probably more for financial gain that ideological. Some argue that the Iranian government would never condone such a transfer; others that it would. There is no way of knowing for sure. What can be said, however, is that the likelihood of a clandestine transfer of weapons and/or nuclear materials to radical Islamist terrorists will increase if the number of Islamic and rogue nation nuclear powers grows, if only because it would get more difficult to identify the state responsible for the transfer so as to punish it.
It is important to recognize that all rogue nations are not Islamist—examples of which are North Korea and Burma. However, the characteristics of these nations include their totalitarian governments, restrictions on human rights, against liberty and freedom and desire to destroy the hegemony of the United States. It is also necessary watch the countries as they form into trading and military defense blocks—such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Mercosur in South America and linking of Russia, China and Iran with Venezuela and Cuba.
If an Islamist terrorist group acquired fissile material or a nuclear bomb today, it would be hard to determine with certainty which country had provided it. Attention would focus on Pakistan, the only Islamic state currently in possession of nuclear weapons. However, it should be noted that Kazakhstan a signatory to the NPT has extensive nuclear enrichment capability resulting from the prior weapons testing under the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan is one of the major world sources of uranium. There are still some 800,000 nuclear sources in the country and extensive nuclear waste sites that could provide material for a dirty bomb. But uncertainty would grow if more Islamic states went nuclear, and retaliation would become all but impossible unless one were willing to strike back indiscriminately at all suspect states.
A nuclear Iran, for example, might support increased terrorism—think Hezbollah— against U.S. forces in the region on the theory that Washington would be reluctant to escalate the conflict.
On October 18 in the Financial Times—Nuclear arms spread hard to stop, says Rumsfeld, Donald Rumsfeld is quoted as saying: it was “practically impossible” to prevent countries from proliferating nuclear weapons if they had that aim.
“This is one of the hardest things we do . . . There’s so much moving around the world by land, sea and air that is practically impossible, not impossible, but certainly it would take a lot of countries co-operating with a high degree of cohesion,” Mr. Rumsfeld told a military audience in Alabama.
His comments came as Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, began a round of shuttle diplomacy in northeast Asia in an effort to co-ordinate effective implementation of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, which include efforts to prevent the communist state from proliferating nuclear weapons.
“The only thing that would do it [prevent proliferation] will be a high degree of cohesiveness and co-operation on the part of the international community,” Mr. Rumsfeld added. “And that has been something that has been lacking.”
Twenty years ago this month in Reykjavik, Iceland, President Ronald Reagan surprised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev with a proposal that both nations abolish their ballistic missiles. There was even talk of eliminating their nuclear arsenals. A second surprise was in store when Gorbachev readily agreed, though with one hitch—the US had to shelve its Strategic Defense Initiative. In spite of his dream of nuclear abolition, Reagan refused to give up SDI, and the deal fell through.
Today we seem to be running on the opposite course. Even as Reagan and Gorbachev dickered in Iceland, the London Sunday Times ran a front-page story in which an Israeli nuclear technician revealed that Israel had produced more than 100 nuclear warheads. (The techie, Mordechai Vanunu, was later kidnapped by Mossad, tried and sentenced to 18 years -- 11 in solitary -- for opening his big mouth.)
Israel was the sixth nation to join the nuclear club. Just two decades after the U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, five nations possessed atomic weapons. The Soviets, were next, collecting the necessary expertise from at least three spies at Los Alamos, most notably the scientist and devoted German Communist Party member (alarm bells, anyone?) Emil Fuchs. Britain, which had been involved with the Manhattan Project, had its own bomb by 1952. Eight years later the French joined the nuke club, and by 1964 Communist China had the bomb. And now China has the systems for delivery of the weapons.
With the end of the Cold War, many believed that nuclear weapons would go the way of the USSR, yet today the world seems to be on the verge of another tsunami of nuclear proliferation. Now as before, there seems to be little the international community can do to halt it.
Certainly this round of proliferation didn’t come out of nowhere. North Korea and Iran have been signaling their nuclear intentions for decades. Pyongyang is, according to the Washington Post, a double threat, because it has shown itself to be a “virtual bazaar for spreading missiles, conventional weapons and nuclear technology around the globe.”
Pakistan, our supposed ally, hasn’t been a slouch either. Islamabad reportedly has sent nuclear material and technology to North Korea, Libya, and Saudi Arabia. The Washington Post also talks of a “vast nuclear smuggling ring emanating from Pakistan,” led chiefly by A.Q. Khan, the German-educated father of the Pakistan bomb.
Nations develop nuclear weapons for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is simply a matter of prestige or national pride, as in the case of China and India. Sometimes nukes are seen as necessary for a state’s very survival (Israel). Most often nuclear armaments are acquired to counter an enemy’s arsenal (Pakistan, USSR). Regardless of the reason, when one state adopts nukes its neighbors are likely to feel pressured to follow suit, no matter how much they oppose nukes in principle. This will be the case for Saudi Arabia if Iran goes nuclear. The particular danger in the case of Saudi Arabia is that it is potentially fighting both the possibility of conflict internally against Al Qaeda and Shiite factions.
Case in point: India tested its first “peaceful nuclear” device, Smiling Buddha -- you didn’t think Indians had a sense of irony, did you? -- in 1974. George Perkovich, author of India’s Nuclear Bomb, notes that Delhi’s reasons had little to do with security, but stemmed from an overwhelming desire for global recognition and national pride. The proposed agreement (awaiting congressional approval) to supply nuclear technology to India negotiated by President Bush does not put India’s weapons program and breeder reactor activities under the inspection control of the NPT.
Following India’s test, Pakistan immediately began work on its own nuclear weapons program. Reacting to this perceived threat from its neighbor, Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto said, “We will defend our country using any means necessary and build a nuclear capability second to none. We will eat grass for 1,000 years, if we have to, but we will get there.” Thanks to technical assistance from China and the expertise Khan stole from German and Dutch nuclear facilities, it didn’t take anything like 1,000 years. Pakistan successfully tested its first bomb in 1998.
Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma or the Union of Burma by bodies and states which do not recognize the ruling military junta (dictatorship).
It should come as no surprise that more and more countries—following North Korea’s lead, and sensing a weakening of the U.S.-EU alliance—are expressing an interest in nuclear weapons. Even a nonentity, but recently significant energy supplier for China and India, like Burma (The Australian July 6, 2006), has announced its intention to start a nuclear weapons program, effectively daring the UN Security Council to stop it. Iran, of course, has been playing the Security Council for a fool for years knowing full well that the Security Council’s threats are about as effective as a chocolate sauce pan. The U.S. will not submit Burma to the UN knowing that China would block any resolution. Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2% per CIA Fact book. Burma has borders with Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km. Bangladesh is rapidly becoming an Islamist state and the site a growing terrorist presence.
According to a Jamestown report The Roots Of Extremism In Bangladesh of January 13, 2005: “The rise of radical political and religious parties like JeI promoted the growth of madrasas in the country, mostly funded by certain Middle Eastern countries. The prominent donors are the Saudi-based al-Haramain Foundation, UAE-based al-Fujayrah Welfare Association and the Dubai-based Dar ul-Ansar and Muslim Welfare Association. (Suggested reading is my earlier paper as a reminder: Dubai Ports – Strategic Implications.) Although none of these organizations have any offices in the areas where terrorist groups are active, they operate through a network of preachers who not only distribute money but also motivate the youth to join jihad.”
“Not surprisingly, Bangladesh has been host to various terrorist groups anxious to recruit and train young students coming out of these madrasas. One of the more prominent ones is Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), widely regarded as al-Qaeda’s operating arm in South Asia. HuJI has been consolidating its position in Bangladesh where it boasts a membership of more than 15,000 activists, of whom at least 2,000 are “hardcore”. Led by Shawkat Osman (alias Sheikh Farid) in Chittagong, the group has at least six training camps in Bangladesh. According to one report, about 3,500 Bangladeshis had gone to Pakistan and Afghanistan to take part in jihad. Barring who died, a large number of them returned home; of these, about 500 form the backbone of HuJI.”
“According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal: Both local residents and foreigners are recruited into the HuJI. Besides, refugees from Myanmar are a significant source of cadres for the outfit. They include stateless Rohingyas, whose families have fled Myanmar over the years allegedly due to religious persecution. Cadres of the HuJI are primarily recruited from various Madrassas (seminaries). The Madrassas essentially impart religious training and most of them are financed by Arab charities. Reports also indicate that many HuJI recruits have seen ‘action’ in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, Chechnya and Afghanistan…The HuJI had reportedly been formed drawing inspiration from Osama bin Laden and continues to maintain active links with the Al Qaeda network and remnants of the Taliban militia.”
China is building a naval base in Burma. Burma’s military junta has attempted to buy nuclear weapons technology from North Korea’s rogue regime in an alliance that presents a frightening new threat to regional security. The highly secretive Burmese state maintains the biggest army in Southeast Asia, with a regular military estimated at about half a million people and a paramilitary force of some 100,000.
Japan is being put under pressure to act resulting from the North Korea nuclear test and simultaneously the impact of cutting off oil access from planned suppliers.
According to an article in the Financial Times on October 25, 2006, Japan Hits Big Setbacks In Push to Expand “Japan will be required to revise its energy strategy. In accordance with Russia’s strategy to use oil as a weapon for geopolitical control and to support Iran, North Korea and China; Russia will redirect the LNG output from the giant project off Russia’s Sakhalin Island to China.”
This is yet another example of the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance—the “Oil Axis” at work seeking world domination.
Just five months after its unveiling, Japan’s ambitious 25-year plan to sharply increase oil and gas development is hitting snags, suggesting Tokyo may find it even harder than expected to stabilize the nation’s future energy supply.
“On October 23, Exxon Mobil Corp. said it reached a preliminary agreement to sell natural gas from a giant project off Russia’s Sakhalin Island to China, instead of to Japan as originally planned. This came several weeks after Russia ratcheted up regulatory pressure that could jeopardize another Sakhalin gas project in which the bulk of the planned output of nearly 10 million tons a year—about a fifth of Japan’s current natural-gas imports -- was destined for Japan.”
“Earlier this month, Iran canceled the right held by Inpex Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest oil-development company, to participate in a $2 billion project in the Azadegan oil field. At its peak, the project was expected to meet as much as 6% of Japan’s oil demand. The developments are a blow to Tokyo, which had counted on the deals as a major component of its push to expand its access to energy. Japan, whose economy is the world’s second-largest, relies nearly entirely on imports for its oil and gas, making it vulnerable to swings in global oil prices or political tensions in energy-producing regions.”
The projects in Russia and Iran are a stark reminder of the challenges Japan faces and the free-world as the “Oil Axis” of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela gain strength. In September, the Kremlin began meddling in a Sakhalin gas project led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC that also involved two Japanese trading companies, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. The government has accused Shell of violating environmental standards and threatened to pull its permits.
The United Nations Security Council is considering whether to impose further sanctions to pressure Iran to give up its uranium-enrichment program, which the U.S. and others say is a precursor to atomic-weapons production and the Iranians claim is for civilian energy use. If sanctions are imposed, the Japanese government would have to halt its plans to provide loans and low-cost trade insurance. That would make it difficult for Inpex to raise enough money to fund the project, let alone make it profitable.
Now with October’s nuclear test in North Korea, Japan may feel pressured to go forward with its on-again, off-again enrichment program, rather than rely for its security on a weakened U.S. Three years ago Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda reiterated that “depending on the world situation, circumstances and public opinion could require Japan to possess nuclear weapons.”
This is but another example of Russia’s use of environmental cover to gain increased control of oil resources. In today’s Russia, energy has become a fundamental tool in leveraging its policies. Along with the issue of North Korean nuclear weapons, energy became a key point in dissuading the EU from condemning Russia’s actions in Georgia. Russia’s control of Georgia is critical in controlling gas and oil supplies to Europe.
“Gazprom, Russia's natural gas company, on Novemebr 2, 2006 threatened to double prices to neighbouring Georgia next year, stepping up economic pressure amid a tense dispute with the Caucasus republic.”… Separately, Russia’s foreign ministry yesterday hit back at concerns voiced by the US that Germany could become too reliant on Russian gas by participating in a new pipeline under the Baltic Sea. The ministry said US opposition appeared motivated “not by worries about Europe's energy security, but the principle professed by certain American officials that good pipelines are those that skirt Russia.”
Russia’s control of energy, its stalling techniques with Iran, and the coincidental nuclear test in North Korea have allowed Russia to distract the West and wield extraordinary power in the CIS. But what will happen when those circumstances subside? Russian wolves will be full on sustenance provided by the West and countries like Georgia will remain starved. The West, meanwhile, may not have much of its cake left, as most of it will have ended up on its face.
On October 18, 2006 Hiroshi Suzuki, Japan’s deputy cabinet secretary said: Tokyo wanted to discuss other issues with Washington, including the efficacy of its nuclear umbrella, which took on added importance in view of the North Korean threat. Japan, he said, maintained “solid adherence” to its three non-nuclear principles - not to possess, develop or trade nuclear weapons.
Also Taro Aso, Japan’s foreign minister told parliament Japan had every right to discuss the desirability of possessing nuclear weapons, even though he was against any change. His remarks prompted Mr Abe to say the nuclear debate was “finished”.
Almost. According to the Financial Times in an interview with Shinzo Abe on October 31, Abe looks to new Japanese constitution. “Shinzo Abe, Japan’s new prime minister said his government would rewrite the constitution during his term, bringing to an end more than 60 years of living with a document written under US occupation.”
In his first newspaper interview since taking office in late September, Mr. Abe told the Financial Times: “Japanese people should themselves write a constitution that befits the 21st century.”
The existing document, written by American occupying forces in 1946, includes Article 9, which renounces Japan’s right to wage war or to maintain armed forces. “I believe this article needs to be revised from the point of view of defending Japan,” Mr. Abe said, adding that Japan was now expected to play a role in international security that was not compatible with its current constitution.
Japan will bring forward its program for setting up a missile defense system following heightened tensions in the region caused by North Korea’s nuclear test, the Japanese defense minister said on October 25. “Japan does not have the power to defend itself against a missile attack,” said Fumio Kyuma, the new head of Japan’s Defense Agency. “We should try to bring forward the timing [of missile defense deployment],” he said. North Korea’s recent missile and nuclear tests have provided Japan’s more hawkish politicians with a sense of urgency in their calls for stronger self-defense measures, particularly against a missile attack.
Nuclear arms races might emerge in regions other than the Middle East as well. Asia features many countries with major territorial or political disputes, including five with nuclear weapons (China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia). Japan and Taiwan could join the list. Most of these countries would have the resources to increase the size and quality of their nuclear arsenals indefinitely if they so chose. They also seem to be nationalist in a way that western European countries no longer are: they are particularly mindful of their sovereignty, relatively uninterested in international organizations, sensitive to slights, and wary about changes in the regional balance of military power. Were the United States to stop serving as guarantor of the current order, Asia might well be, in the words of the Princeton political science professor Aaron Friedberg, “ripe for rivalry” -- including nuclear rivalry. In that case, the region would raise problems similar to those that would be posed by a nuclear Middle East.
On October 16 Speaking at a conference in Vienna on tightening controls against nuclear proliferation, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said there is a real danger that the 30 so-called threshold countries could have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short time. “The lack of international security and the failure of non-proliferation agreements make it difficult to convince these ‘virtual new weapons states’ not to develop their own nuclear programs,” ElBaradei told reporters. He told The Times a country -- not necessarily a superpower -- with good intentions about using nuclear power could develop a bomb “based on their sense of security or insecurity.”
“The knowledge is out of the tube ... both for peaceful purpose and unfortunately also for not peaceful purposes,” Mr. ElBaradei said.
“It’s becoming fashionable for countries to try to look into possibilities of shielding themselves ... through the possibility of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding: “Another 20 or 30 would have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short time.”
According to the UN official, these “20 or 30” specifically potential nuclear powers includes:
Australia, Argentina and South Africa: countries he said have recently announced to be considering developing enrichment programs to be able to sell fuel to states that want to generate electricity with nuclear reactors.
Canada, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Taiwan, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania: Nations which either have the means to produce weapons-grade uranium if they chose, could quickly build such technology, or could use plutonium waste for weaponization.
Japan, which also says it has no plans to develop atomic weapons, but could make them at short notice.
South Korea, which also has spent reactor fuel, and was found a few years ago to have conducted small-scale secret experiments on making highly enriched uranium that would be usable in warheads.
Finally, Thailand, Mr. ElBaradei’s home country of Egypt, Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Namibia, Moldova, Nigeria, Poland, Turkey, Vietnam and Yemen. These countries are “considering developing nuclear programs in the near future,” according to the UN official’s speech.
Could the U.S. government really destroy all of an adversary’s nuclear weapons in a nuclear first strike? Does Washington want that ability? And what--if anything--should be done about it? Peter C. W. Flory Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy writing in Foreign Affairs, September/October 2006, Nuclear Exchange: Does Washington Really Have (or Want) Nuclear Primacy?
“This administration has continued the policy of previous administrations in that it does not rely on the ability to conduct a nuclear first strike to ensure the survival of the United States. The Department of Defense’s force posture of dispersed ICBMs and survivable ballistic missile submarines is designed to make clear to any adversary that might contemplate a first strike against the United States that in the aftermath of such an attack the U.S. military would retain the ability to respond with such devastating force that an aggressor could not stand to gain. This is not a first-strike posture.”
From How Brazil Spun the Atom: “While Iran grabs headlines, Brazil is quietly, and without belligerence, preparing its centrifuges to start enriching uranium according to an article in Spectrum (IEEE Journal) of March 6, 2006. Brazil will soon produce enriched uranium in industrial quantities to fuel its two nuclear power reactors. Brazil’s achievement comes at a time when concern is running high over another enrichment program, in Iran. Both countries are parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—the foundation of the international regime that seeks to limit the spread of nuclear weapons—but Brazil’s program is notable for its differences from Iran’s: Brazil has consistently fulfilled its obligations under the NPT, and the country has forsworn nuclear weapons ambition since a democratic government replaced the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.”
“With its new Resende plant, Brazil is joining the exclusive club of nations that operate commercial-scale centrifuge facilities. These include Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom— these three forming the Urenco Ltd. consortium—plus Russia, China, and Japan. The United States and France enrich uranium through a different process called gaseous diffusion, although both countries plan to build centrifuge plants.”
“All over the world, uranium centrifuges and other enrichment technologies are treated as state secrets and subject to stringent export controls. That’s because the same equipment used to enrich uranium into reactor fuel can, with only minor modifications, also enrich it to a far higher level to serve as bomb-grade material. So while enrichment technology provides the lifeblood of the nuclear power industry, it can also be instrumental to the production of nuclear weapons.”
The thoughts of an Islamic terrorist state located 90 miles off of the Florida coast should enough to keep the people of America and even President Bush up for weeks.
According to AKI Adnkronos International , Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the president of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, who is related by marriage to Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the spiritual leader of the Islamic republic, met on February 13, 2006 with the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Haddad Adel arrived in Caracas on Sunday night with a delegation including agriculture minister Mohammad Reza Eskandari and industry minister Ali Reza Tahmasebi. After the visit to Venezuela, Iran’s main ally in Latin America and within OPEC, the Iranian delegation is set off to travel to Cuba, Brazil and Uruguay. Venezuela is mining uranium from a clandestine mine.
In his first foreign visit as Iran’s newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cuba and Venezuela before heading to the United States for a UN summit in September last year. Ahmadinejad met with Venezuelan president Chavez and the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
While the Cuba visit itself may be of little consequence, the invitation offers a reminder that our Cuban neighbor is ceaselessly working to pursue anti-American foreign policy. It also offers a heads-up that Iran’s nuclear aspirations may as well be Cuba’s.
The solutions for dealing with proliferations are not static and no one solution will provide a permanent solution. Each day will present new challenges and each must be met for the protection of civilization. The solution does require the cooperation of countries working together realizing the danger and potential destruction that would issue forth. Today, most of emphasis has been placed of countries developing weapons. The control and security is not one-dimensional. This is not the time to hit the pause button on addressing the total security issue. Security does not stop at the negotiating table. We must address the issue globally.
To bolster the efficacy of deterrence in a world of small, closely located nuclear powers, it would be necessary to deploy surveillance systems that could identify and warn against aircraft movement and missile launches. These systems might be operated on a national or a multilateral basis; in fact, a number of states in exposed regions could contribute to collective efforts to detect airborne threats.
The construction of such a regional surveillance system, moreover, would put in place much of the infrastructure needed to support another useful tool: some form of missile defense. Skeptics of missile defense have often ridiculed, with some reason, the notion that such systems can be effective against nuclear weapons or large numbers of missiles. What they overlook, however, is that even leaky or somewhat ineffective defenses can play a constructive role in deterring an attack from a nuclear power with a small arsenal or lowering the odds that a full-scale nuclear conflict will erupt from a single use (of whatever origin). Witness Japan moving ahead with their missile defense system.
Other kinds of defense could also help lower the odds of an attack or mitigate its terrible consequences. Government officials whether in the U.S., Asia, or Europe should develop the capacity to evacuate those cities at risk of a direct attack or of being in the path of nuclear fallout, as well as stockpile radiation meters, build fallout shelters, and implement other measures first devised in the 1950s. Civil defense came to be seen as a grotesque joke when the Soviet Union acquired tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. But, like missile defense, it could play an important role in a world of smaller nuclear powers.
Should a nuclear bomb get through nevertheless, it would be critical for the government of the targeted state to respond with policies other than doing nothing or ordering indiscriminate retaliation. One option would be to launch a massive non-nuclear military campaign against the responsible party to make sure that such an attack was never repeated. But even with all the will and money in the world, such a response simply could not be summoned up out of the blue, it would require careful planning and preparation.
Many of the countries potentially developing nuclear weapons gain their funding through the sale of oil. Removing the sources of funding would significantly reduce the risk of nuclear weaponization. Examples include Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Burma, etc. Energy independence can be a deterrent to nuclear proliferation.
Drug trafficking, Internet porn, sex slavery, counterfeiting and other endeavors are also providing funding for the activities.
Open borders allow the potential transfer of WMD. This requires both the countries that have nuclear materials, such as Kazakhstan and those seeking security such as the EU and the United States to have adequate border control.
Security is also important with regard to technology transfer, shipment of materials, plans and manufacturing technology. A.Q. Khan and Emil Fuchs transfer of nuclear technology are examples. The technology transfer of missile technology—not components from the U.S. to China, allowed their development of intercontinental missiles. With electronic transfer, North Korea may transfer their technology to other countries; inspecting ships will not solve this problem.
The U.S. also needs materials and metals, such as rare earths from China and titanium from Russia to maintain our weapons program. Unless we have plans for our security, we are at risk for defense. Shutting down a mining operation for Rare Earth in the U.S. because of an environmental concern can be just as devastating to our security as the transfer of nuclear material to a rogue nation.
Shut down nuclear programs in countries mentioned above result in large numbers of trained scientists and engineers without jobs. These scientists and engineers, most of which are in need of work migrate and seek paying jobs. Some move to countries to develop their weapons. The closures of the South African and Argentine programs are prime examples.
Without the adequate supply of trained and committed scientists and engineers, with appropriate security clearances, we cannot achieve security.
Peaceful coexistence does not require friendly relations or appeasement, but it does mean exercising mutual restraint. Relinquishing the threat of regime change by force may be necessary and acceptable price for the United States to pay to stop Tehran or Pyongyang from getting the bomb and the delivery systems. But this alone will not prevent the nuclear proliferation and a potential nuclear and/or economic holocaust. The combined forces of the Leftist/Marxist – Islamic Alliance and the Oil Axis have the goal of world domination.
David J. Jonsson is the author of Clash of Ideologies —The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds, Xulon Press 2005. His new book: Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad: The Muslim Brotherhood to the Leftist/Marxist - Islamist Alliance (Salem Communications (May 30, 2006). He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics. He worked for major corporations in the United States and Japan and with multilateral agencies that brought him to more that fifteen countries with significant or majority populations who are Muslim. These exposures provided insight into the basic tenants of Islam as a political, economic and religious system. He became proficient in Islamic law (Shariah) through contract negotiation and personal encounter. David can be reached at: email@example.com
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