The U.S. is absolutely on the road to war with Iran


Is the U.S. on the road to war with Iran?
Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Is the U.S. on the road to war with Iran?
There are two kinds of people: those with, and without, grace. President Trump can decide on which side he falls, although Mrs. Abe the Japanese Prime Minister’s wife has clearly made up her mind. Anyone who can read a whole speech in English knows enough to say, ‘Excuse me, I do not speak English well’. So, to not respond at all to the U.S. president sitting beside her, who turns to converse, conveys a distinct meaning.
There was a time when countries prided themselves on their civility and their citizenry for their courtesy. Now the byword is the put down; rudeness, crudeness and vulgarity rule the day — not to forget the jingoism, demagoguery and xenophobia that can win elections. If such was the state of a democracy, its founders, were they alive, would weep.
In the past week, U.S. presidential ire has been directed at Iran. Shortly after the administration’s annual declaration to Congress certifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, it slapped additional economic sanctions the following Tuesday (July 18). Three days later, Trump added threats of ‘new and serious consequences’ unless detained U.S. citizens are returned. Robert Levinson, a former law enforcement officer disappeared ten years ago in Iran. In addition, Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-born U.S. citizen, as well as a father and son Iranian-Americans, Baquer and Siamak Namazi — the elder a former provincial governor in Iran — have been sentenced to 10 years jail for spying. For perspective, it is worth noting that 5 million tourists visit Iran annually contributing $2 billion in revenue, and the country is trying to expand its tourism industry.
The nuclear agreement itself is difficult for the U.S. to abrogate unilaterally as it involves the five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Yet Trump appears to have swallowed the Netanyahu line on the deal. Add that to Trump’s new found chumminess with the Saudis and their deep Wahhabi antagonism towards Shia Iran and we could be on the edge of another cataclysm in the Middle East, this time enveloping the whole region.
If we recall the history of the deal, the Obama regime first had to give up their zero-enrichment requirement before the Iranians would even agree to talk. They got low enrichment.
While sanctions had hurt Iran, it refused to buckle under the pressure; in fact it added centrifuges and speeded up enrichment. Had the Obama administration continued on this course, they would have had a nuclear Iran or war.
There are those in Washington who still believe sanctions and pressure would bring Iran to its knees. They have forgotten the Iranian response to Iraq and the Iran-Iraq war when Iran stood up to a better-armed Iraq despite enormous casualties.
If Trump keeps up the pressure imposing further sanctions, how soon before the extremists in Iran secure an upper hand and the deal falls apart? Could an unwinnable war (Iraq and Afghanistan are living examples) and/or a nuclear Iran be the consequence?
Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King’s College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he has written for Antiwar.com, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record.

Pakistan and India Increase Nukes

nuclear_war_india_pakistanPakistan, India expanding nuclear arsenals as global stockpiles decrease: report – World

Dawn.com

Although global nuclear stockpiles witnessed a drop in 2017 compared to last year, Pakistan and India continue to expand its military fissile material production capabilities on a scale that may enable a significant increase in weapons inventories over the next 10 years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said in a publication titled “Trends in world nuclear forces, 2017”.

At the beginning of this year, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea all possessed approximately 4,150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons, the Sipri report said.
World nuclear forces, January 2017. ─ Sipri Fact Sheet.
Russia possesses the greatest number of nuclear warheads with 7,000, followed by the US with 6,800. Both have reduced their stockpiles over the past decade, albeit at a slowing rate, the report claimed.
The arsenals of other countries are considerably smaller, but all are either developed or deployed new weapons systems or intend to do so, according to the report. Pakistan and India both, for instance, are working on developing new land, sea and air-based missile delivery systems.

Pakistan

As of January 2017, Pakistan was estimated to possess a stockpile of up to 140 warheads, according to the Sipri report. This showed a marked increase from the 120–130 warheads estimated in the research institute’s data for 2016.
Pakistan has been expanding its main plutonium production complex at Khushab, Punjab, which consists of four operational heavy-water nuclear reactors and a heavy-water production plant, as well as constructing a new reprocessing plant at another site.
Thehave predicted that the size of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile will increase significantly over the next decade, although estimates of the increase in warhead numbers vary considerably depending on assumptions about Pakistan’s production capabilities.
While aircraft constitutes as Pakistan’s most developed nuclear payload delivery system, recently the government has focused on expanding its capabilities to nuclear-capable land-based ballistic and cruise missiles.
Pakistan currently deploys two types of road-mobile short-range ballistic missiles and has developed two types of medium-range ballistic missiles. The Shaheen-III missile ─ a longer-range variant under development ─ will be capable of striking targets throughout India.
A short-range nuclear-capable missile has also been developed with the apparent use intention of being used in tactical nuclear roles and missions.
“Their purpose is to offset India’s superior conventional forces in limited conflict scenarios.”
“Pakistan has acknowledged that it is seeking to match India’s nuclear triad by developing a sea-based nuclear force,” the report adds, acknowledging that there has been “considerable speculation” that the sea-based force will initially consist of nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles deployed on submarines or on surface ships.

India

By the onset of 2017 India was estimated to have a nuclear arsenal of up to 130 weapons, the report stated, and this represented an increase in the country’s nuclear stockpile from the 110–120 warheads estimated in the Sipri nuclear data for 2016.
The article goes on to note that India is moderately expanding the size of its nuclear weapon stockpile as well as its infrastructure for producing nuclear warheads.
“It [India] plans to build six fast breeder reactors, which will significantly increase its capacity to produce plutonium for weapons,” reads the report. India plans on expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities with the construction of a new “un-safeguarded” gas centrifuge facility, the report claims.
“India’s expanded centrifuge enrichment capacity has been motivated by plans to build new naval propulsion reactors, but the potential excess capacity could also signify its intent to move towards thermonuclear weapons by blending the current plutonium arsenal with uranium secondaries.”
India continues to maintain focus on developing the Agni family of land-based nuclear-capable ballistic missiles ─ flight tests of a new road-mobile, canister-launched ballistic missile, the Agni-V, is reported to have a near-intercontinental range and possess the capability of reaching targets throughout China.
The Agni-V is expected to be inducted into service in 2017.
India continues to develop the naval component of its triad of nuclear forces in pursuit of an assured second-strike capability.

India Steps Up The Nuclear Ante

After Agni-V, India to test another nuke-capable ballistic missile, the K-4

India's 63rd Republic Day

India are likely to test K-4 SLBM from an underwater pontoon.

Tableau of ‘Indian Navy -Safe Seas and Secure Coasts for a Strong Nation’ passes through the Rajpath during the 63rd Republic Day Parade-2012, in New Delhi on January 26, 2012.PIB

There is reason now for China and Pakistan to be sore with India as the latter is expected to test launch K-4, a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from an underwater pontoon on January 31, 2017.
The K-4 SLBM has a strike range of around 3,500km and is said to be weigh 17 tonne. The missile can carry warhead of two tonne and is powered by a solid rocket propellant. The K-4 has been compared with Agni-III in terms of range. Submarine-launched missiles are miniaturised to fit the nuclear missile silos.
This is not the first time India is testing the K-4 SLBM. Last year, in March, India tested the missile from depth of 30mts, with “roaring success,” the New Indian Express reported.
The January-end test is expected to be fired from a depth of 20-30mts, though the missile is designed to be launched from depth of 50mts. The K-4 is a combination of cruise and ballistic missile. It uses multiple stage rockets to exit the atmosphere and re-enters in a parabolic trajectory.
India has already inducted an indigenously built nuclear submarine, INS Arihant that could eventually host the K-4s. Along with the K-4, an intermediate range missile, India is also developing a smaller, 700km missile, K-15 (B-05). India has also tested the K-15. Apart from the K-4, K-15, New Delhi is said to be working on K-5, a 5000km SLBM.
All the K-series of missiles will eventually make their way into India’s Arihant-class submarines. The report also claimed that the K-series of missiles are faster, lighter and stealthier.
New Delhi’s need to have effective defences against a nuclear Pakistan grew stronger with Pakistan’s recent successful tests of Babur-3, its first submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), that was fired from an underwater platform. Babur-3 is said to have the capability to carry both nuclear and conventional warhead
For India, it is paramount, strategically, to have credible minimum deterrence against a nuclear Pakistan and China. India also needs to have the capability of a second strike as India has voluntarily proclaimed a “No First Use” policy. India also has a good track record when it comes to nuclear proliferation and safeguards unlike Pakistan. New Delhi wants to march ahead and seal its status as a responsible nuclear-triad nation.