The Development of the Nuclear Horns (Revelation 15)

image-1313Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons

29th Oct ’18

With the rising problem of climate change, countries are searching for non-carbon producing forms of power generation. Concurrently, global demand for electricity is increasing. In this context, Saudi Arabia is seeking to purchase nuclear power technology from the United States. Nuclear power technology, while a carbon neutral form of electricity generation, can easily be misused for nefarious purposes. In order to promote global nuclear nonproliferation, states need to restrict, rather than promote, nuclear power exports.

Signatory states to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) can be divided into two categories – those that do, and those that do not have nuclear weapons. Part of the “grand bargain” of the NPT is that the nuclear have-nots, in exchange for never developing nuclear weapons, will be allowed nuclear technology for “peaceful purposes.” The clause in question comes from Article IV of the NPT: “nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.”

Unfortunately, it is too easy for technology associated with nuclear power generation to be used for nefarious purposes. In order to fuel the most common reactor designs, uranium must be enriched to contain around 5% U-235 to U-238 (natural uranium contains only 0.7% U-235). While it takes a great deal of power and effort to get uranium enriched to 5%, once uranium is 20% enriched it becomes significantly easier to go to weapons-grade, or roughly 95% U-235.

Spent nuclear fuel can be reprocessed into usable nuclear fuel by removing the plutonium (Pu-239 and Pu-240) that has accumulated in the fuel as it is burnt in the reactor, and then re-milling the remaining uranium into fuel. But what happens to the plutonium? Plutonium-239 is really only useful for one thing: nuclear weapons. Despite asserting the contrary, it is very possible to use Pu-240 in nuclear weapons.

This is the reason why supporters of the 2009 123 Agreement with the UAE lauded the strict inspection requirements that the UAE agreed to in exchange for US assistance in developing the UAE’s nuclear power industry. This is also why many experts are critical of any effort to spread nuclear power, as the technology can be too easily misused. For example, Canada and the United States sold nuclear technology and materials to India on the basis that they be used for peaceful purposes. It was only through these contributions that India was able to develop its own nuclear weapons, which were first tested in 1974.

Unlike the UAE deal, the proposed deal with Saudi Arabia is believed to be more lax than the “gold standard” 123 Agreement with the UAE. Furthermore, before the JCPOA was signed, Saudi Arabia was reportedly in talks to buy nuclear warheads from Pakistan and missiles adequate enough to reach over the Persian Gulf into Iran. It cannot be guaranteed that Saudi Arabia will use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.

So what can be done? The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was established after the enactment of the NPT to control access to nuclear technology. The NSG sets strict requirements that must be met and verified before any member state can export technology or nuclear fuel. Additionally, many regions of the globe have created, by treaty, nuclear free zones or have regional anti-nuclear weapons agreements (such as the Treaty of Tlatelolco) that have their own inspection or verification requirements. The NSG and various treaties have shown effectiveness in stemming nuclear proliferation.

There are, however, some blind spots. Four nuclear powers, India, Pakistan, Israel, and now North Korea, currently remain outside both the NPT and the NSG. They are able to sell technology and nuclear materials at will. Indeed, Pakistan has, in the past, facilitated the sale of nuclear enrichment technologies through its principle nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan, to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

With regard to the Saudi Arabia deal, the United States must be able to guarantee that the Saudi government will not attempt to use its nuclear power generation technology for hostile intent. If not, then the United States cannot let the deal proceed.

Sadly, Saudi Arabia has not demonstrated that it is trustworthy enough for this deal. Their suspected involvement in the death of a Washington Post journalist, and the Crown Prince’s pledge to develop nuclear weapons if Iran does, show that the Saudi government cannot be trusted to not use nuclear technology for malicious purposes. The United States is left with only three responsible options: cancel the deal altogether; reconstruct the deal identically to the UAE deal; or insist Saudi Arabia join the NSG before the deal can go forward.  These options are the only way to guarantee that the nuclear materials and technology cannot be used to covertly create nuclear weapons. Nuclear technology is simply too dangerous to be left unsupervised.

Russia Threatens the Other Nuclear Horns

Putin says Russia will target nations who host US nuclear weapons

‘European countries… must understand that they are putting their own territory at risk of a possible counterstrike,’ says Russian

Russia would immediately target any European nation that agreed to deploy US missiles on their soil, Vladimir Putin has said, following the announcement from Washington that it would withdraw from a landmark arms control treaty..

It would be “quick and effective.” Mr Putin said. The Russian president added that if the US “delivers” any new weapons to Europe after they pull out of the deal, Moscow would have no choice but to defend itself.

“European countries that agree to host them, if things go that far, must understand that they are putting their own territory at risk of a possible counterstrike,” he said.

The comments, delivered during a news conference following talks with Italian Prime Minster Conte, came a day after meeting US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Moscow.

That visit made it clear that the United States intended to issue formal notice on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, and brought forward the prospect of nuclear weapons returning to European soil.

Mr Putin said he understood there were “problems” with the treaty that began not “yesterday, or three days ago.” But he rejected American accusations that Russia had been in violation of the treaty.

Mr Putin instead claimed that the US MK41 “missile shield” systems and their use of drones represented a “direct violation” of the treaty.

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, which was signed in Washington in 1987 by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, committed the two Cold War superpowers to destroy short range and intermediate range missiles (500-5,000km), and not to develop them in the future.

Many expect the imminent US withdrawal from this treaty to be followed by the non-renewal of another major arms control deal the strategic arms reduction treaty, the New START, which runs out in 2021.

Mr Putin said that prospect “worried him.”

“It is a very dangerous situation, which leaves nothing else but an arms race,” he said

Death Toll Rises Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

AP Photo/Adel Hana

Death toll for Friday border clashes rises to 7 after Gazan succumbs to wounds

A Palestinian has died two days after suffering gunshot wounds in ongoing clashes on the Israel-Gaza border, the health ministry in the enclave said Sunday.

The death raises to the number of Palestinians killed as a result of Friday’s to 7 where an estimated 10,000 protesters gathered at the border fence.

Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops responded to the hurling of grenades and flaming tires with “riots dispersal means,” an army spokesman said in a statement.

Yahya al-Hassanat, 37, was shot in the head along the border near Al-Bureij in central Gaza, the ministry said.

Five other Palestinians were also shot dead during Friday’s protests, the ministry said, while one died when a grenade he was carrying exploded accidentally, according to witnesses. Deaths included two men aged 22 and 27 years old.

Only hours before the protests erupted this week, reports emerged that Egyptian intelligence officials– who have been engaging in months of shuttle diplomacy — had successfully brokered an understanding between Israel and Hamas.

According to Al-Hayat news outlet, Hamas agreed to a cessation of border violence in exchange for Israel’s easing of the blockade on the coastal enclave.

Following news of the deal, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he was “hopeful” this Friday will pass more quietly.” Liberman’s hopes were quickly dashed.

MAHMUD HAMS (AFP)

At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in months of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, 50 of which are said to be Hamas members. One Israeli soldier has been killed since the protests and clashes began on March 30.

Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and attacks, which it accuses Hamas of seeking to orchestrate. Palestinians and rights groups say protesters have been shot while posing little threat.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

Later on Friday and into Saturday, Palestinian militants fired over 39 rockets into southern Israel in a period of less than 24 hours. In retaliation, IDF fighter jets struck 87 Hamas targets and 8 Islamic Jihad bases in three military compounds throughout the strip.

The violence came to an end after Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militant group who eventually claimed responsibility for launching the rockets, said it had agreed to a new Egyptian-brokered truce.

There were no reported casualties or deaths from the rocket fire and air strikes which was viewed as the largest in months.

Several military flare-ups have occurred in the months since the protests began, prompting fears of a new war between the two sides.

AFP contributed to this report

Three Boys Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Gaza: three boys killed in Israeli airstrike, say Palestinian medics

Israeli army says aircraft hit three Palestinians who approached security fence

AP in Gaza CitySun 28 Oct 2018 16.51 EDT

Israeli army says aircraft hit three Palestinians who approached security fence

Palestinian medics say three boys aged 12 to 14 have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in the south-eastern Gaza Strip.

Ashraf al-Kidra of the health ministry said ambulance crews were bringing the children’s bodies to a hospital from the perimeter fence dividing Gaza and Israel.

The Israeli army said an aircraft hit three Palestinians who approached the security fence on Sunday “and were apparently involved in placing” an explosive device on to it.

The Gaza-Israel border area has been volatile for months as the enclave’s Hamas rulers organise weekly protests there against a decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Egyptian mediators relentlessly urge the two sides separately to restore calm and prevent wider conflict.

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed in the protests since March. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper in July.