Pentagon Helped Pakistan Become a Nuclear Horn

Khan the Father of Islamic Nukes

Khan the Father of Islamic Nukes

Pentagon blamed for Pakistan nuclear bomb
Updated: July 4, 2016 01:35 IST | Kallol Bhattacherjee

The U.S. Department of Defense resisted moves by the Congress to curtail Gen. Zia’s nuclear programme, a key U.S. policy maker of the time says in a new book.

The book titled Senator Pressler: An Independent Mission to Save Our Democracy sheds new light on U.S. attempts to deal with the Pakistan nuclear programme which under the Presidency of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq thrived due to an elaborate international smuggling network led by Dr. A.Q. Khan.
The book which is dedicated to Larry Pressler’s political life as a Senator from South Dakota recounts that the Pentagon backed by a section of the academia, media, think tanks and military-industrial complex did not support the Pressler Amendment which aimed to impose a trade embargo on Pakistan in the late 1980s for lying to the American government regarding its nuclear programme.
“The Pentagon strongly opposed it at the time,” he says in his autobiography, revealing that it was President Ronald Reagan who found his expertise on India-Pakistan ties of interest and encouraged him to come up with an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act 1961 which became known as the “Pressler Amendment”.

The Pressler Amendment was used by President George H.W. Bush to force Pakistan to go slow on the nuclear programme during the four years, 1989 to 1993. Mr. Pressler blames the military-industrial complex of the U.S. for stalling the campaign to stop the Pakistani nuclear programme which went overt with a series of nuclear tests in the Chagai mountain range of Balochistan in May 1998. Many believe that Pakistan could have been prevented from going nuclear had the U.S. acted on time and acted tough with Gen. Zia.

Mr. Pressler reportedly is trying to stage a comeback as an advocate of India in Washington DC and sent his autobiography to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Shivraj Singh, a politician of NDA coalition partner Rashtriya Lok Shakti Party (RLSP) who was in the U.S. for supporting the visit of Mr. Modi to the White House. Mr. Pressler’s comments are significant as the U.S. at present is pushing for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, while being silent on Pakistan’s claims for a similar membership.

Mr. Pressler confirmed in an email to The Hindu that he is working on a new book on India-U.S. diplomacy which will shed light on nuclear issues and his ties with Indian political leaders like the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Mr. Pressler has enjoyed good ties with Indian IT giant Infosys where he served on the board of directors for several years.

The upcoming book is being published by Penguin Random House and will be out in 2017, Mr. Pressler said.

Pentagon Is Preparing For World War 3 (Revelation 15)

Pentagon budget: A blueprint for World War III

build_up_to_ww3_us_pushing_russia_into_world_war_3
4 February 2016

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s speech Tuesday previewing the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2017 spelled out Washington’s advanced preparations for military confrontations with the world’s second- and third-largest nuclear powers, Russia and China.
Delivered to the Economic Club of Washington, DC, an appreciative audience whose sponsors include the major arms manufacturers Boeing and Northrop Grumman as well as financial giants like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, the defense secretary’s speech presented an unabashed declaration of Washington’s intentions to assert its hegemony over the world’s markets and resources by whatever means necessary, up to and including a nuclear holocaust.
The presentation made by Carter, a longtime technocrat of America’s military industrial complex, provides a powerful vindication of the warnings made by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site that the deepening crisis of US and global capitalism is posing a real and growing danger of a Third World War.
The biggest increase proposed in the Pentagon budget is the quadrupling of funding for the US military buildup against Russia in Europe—projected to rise from $800 million to $3.4 billion. In addition to the 65,000 troops Washington already garrisons on the European continent, the funding increase will pay for the “heel to toe” rotation of full armored combat brigades into the former Baltic republics, on Russia’s doorstep, as well as other eastern European countries.
This proposal represents a flagrant and provocative violation of the agreements reached with Moscow in the wake of the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union not to station large numbers of NATO troops on Russia’s borders.
In addition, large quantities of military hardware, including tanks, artillery, infantry fighting vehicles and other weaponry, are to be stockpiled in close striking distance to Russia to allow for the speedy intervention of additional US combat brigades from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to Poland Bulgaria and Romania.
President Barack Obama issued a statement Tuesday declaring that the 400 percent increase in funding to encircle Russia “will enable the United States to strengthen our robust military posture in Europe and improve our ability to uphold our Article 5 commitments to NATO members.” By invoking Article 5, which requires NATO to militarily defend any member against attack, Obama was reiterating the vow he made in 2014 that the US would put “boots on the ground” to defend the Baltic republics, thereby making their right-wing and virulently anti-Russian regimes the trip wire for a war that would have incalculable consequences.
The other major focus of Carter’s speech and of the proposed budget itself is the buildup of US military pressure against China under the banner of the “pivot to Asia,” with particular emphasis on the modernization of the US war fleet for confrontations in the South China Sea.
Carter did not mince words about Washington objectives, which are to use military force to maintain US hegemony in Asia and quell any threat to its dominant position from the rising economic power of China, subordinating China to US economic and strategic interests and reducing it to a semi-colony of US imperialism.
The US, the defense secretary said, would act to “maintain the stability in the region that we have underwritten for 70 years,” warning China that “to disrupt the security environment where half of humanity lives and half of humanity’s economic behavior is not a good idea.”
Washington, he continued, was carrying out its military buildup to be able “to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do.”
Employing the language of total war, Carter added, “In this context, Russia and China are our most stressing competitors.”
All of these proposals to escalate military confrontations that lead in the direction of global catastrophe are being made without even the semblance of a public debate, never mind the support of the American people, who have repeatedly demonstrated their hostility to militarism and war. The drive toward World War III is unfolding largely behind the backs of the public, with the corporate media and the two major parties showing no interest whatsoever in making the chilling implications of the Pentagon’s preparations known to the population.
As for Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, his role as a rubber stamp for the US military and intelligence apparatus was briefly noted in Carter’s remarks Tuesday. Asked whether there would be a further increase in the number of US troops deployed in Iraq and Syria—where funding for military operations is also being increased by 50 percent to $7.5 billion—he responded in the affirmative, adding, “Every time the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and I have asked the president for more capability to do that, he said yes, and I expect that will continue.”
The massive spending on war preparations is to be paid for through ever more draconian attacks on the living standards, jobs and social conditions of the broad masses of working people. The extent of the diversion of social resources to militarism can be seen in the Pentagon’s proposal to increase its spending on research and development for the production of newer and more deadly weapons to nearly $72 billion. This amount alone exceeds the entire US federal budget for education in 2015, never mind the trillions more that are to be spent in the coming years for new generations of nuclear submarines, bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In July 2014, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) issued a statement entitled “Socialism and the Fight Against Imperialist War.” The statement drew out the fundamental dynamics of the drive toward world war that find expression in Carter’s speech and the Pentagon’s proposed budget. It declared:
“The danger of a new world war arises out of the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system—between the development of a global economy and its division into antagonistic nation states, in which the private ownership of the means of production is rooted. This finds its most acute expression in the drive of US imperialism to dominate the Eurasian landmass, above all those areas from which it was excluded for decades by the Russian and Chinese revolutions. In the west, the US, in league with Germany, has orchestrated a fascist-led coup to bring Ukraine under its control. But its ambitions do not stop there. The ultimate objective is to dismember the Russian Federation, reducing it to a series of semi-colonies to open the way for the plunder of its vast natural resources. In the east, the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia is aimed at encircling China and transforming it into a semi-colony. Here, the objective is to ensure domination of the cheap labour that is one of the key global sources of the surplus value extracted from the working class and the life-blood of the capitalist economy.”
The ICFI went on to explain that the objective roots of the US drive for world domination ensure that an imperialist world war is inevitable outside of the revolutionary intervention of the international working class to put an end to the capitalist system and establish socialism. It stressed that the same contradictions that are the driving forces for war provide the objective impulse for socialist revolution.
In the year and a half since the ICFI issued its statement, these contradictions have only sharpened, intensifying existing wars and heightening the danger of new ones from the Middle East, to Eastern Europe, to the South China Sea, while at the same time driving the working class into increasingly bitter struggles against austerity and exploitation.
The historic question confronting humanity is the necessity for the working class to carry out the world socialist revolution before the capitalist ruling class can complete its descent into a war that threatens nuclear extinction. This places the greatest urgency on the political task of building the Fourth International as the revolutionary leadership of the world working class.
Bill Van Auken

The Ten Nuclear Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 7:7)

No Danger of Nuclear War? The Pentagon’s Plan to Blow up the Planet

Theme: Militarization and WMD, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: Nuclear War
 
More than 2000 nuclear explosions have occurred since 1945 as part of nuclear weapons’ testing.
Officially only two nuclear bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6 and 9, August 1945) have been used in an act of war.

The media consensus is that a nuclear holocaust is an impossibility.
Should we be concerned? 
Publicly available military documents confirm that nuclear war is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

Compared to the 1950s, however, today’s nuclear weapons are far more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack.

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books.

War is Good for Business: Spearheaded by the “defense contractors” (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, British Aerospace  et al), the Obama administration has proposed a one trillion dollar plan over a 30 year period to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) largely directed at Russia and China.

A new arms race is unfolding. Russia has in turn responded to US threats through a major modernization of its strategic nuclear weapons arsenal.

Political Insanity

The use of nuclear weapons is casually endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her election campaign is financed by the US military industrial complex which produces the WMDs.
Meanwhile, scientists on contract to the Pentagon have endorsed the use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground.” The tactical nukes are bona fide thermonuclear weapons, with an explosive capacity between one third and six times a Hiroshima bomb. They have been cleared for battlefield use (in the conventional war theater) by the US Senate and their use does not require the approval by the Commander in Chief.
The people at the highest levels of government who make decisions regarding the use of nuclear weapons haven’t  the foggiest idea as to the implications of their actions.

Cold War versus Post Cold War Nuclear Doctrine 

A recently released classified Pentagon document (1959) confirms that during the Cold War, 1200 cities extending from Eastern Europe to the Far East were targeted for systemic destruction.

Source: National Security Archive

According to 1956 Plan, H-Bombs were to be Used Against Priority “Air Power” Targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe.
Major Cities in Soviet Bloc, Including East Berlin, Were High Priorities in “Systematic Destruction” for Atomic Bombings.  (William Burr, U.S. Cold War Nuclear Attack Target List of 1200 Soviet Bloc Cities “From East Germany to China”, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 538, December 2015


Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order. National Security Archive

Today’s List of Targeted Cities 

This policy of nuclear bombing of targeted cities is still on the drawing board of the Pentagon. While today’s list of targets remains classified, cities in Russia, China, the Middle East, North Korea are on the target list. An Associated Press report quoting Pentagon sources (June 4, 2015) confirms that:

The Pentagon has been actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia, …  Three options being considered by the Pentagon are the placement of anti-missile defenses in Europe aimed at shooting Russian missiles out of the sky; a “counterforce” option that would involve pre-emptive non-nuclear strikes on Russia military sites; and finally, “countervailing strike capabilities,” involving the pre-emptive deployment of nuclear missiles against targets inside Russia.
The AP states: “The options go so far as one implied—but not stated explicitly—that would improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory.” In other words, the US is actively preparing nuclear war against Russia.
Robert Scher, one of Carter’s nuclear policy aides, told Congress in April that the deployment of “counterforce” measures would mean “we could go about and actually attack that missile where it is in Russia.” According to other Pentagon officials, this option would entail the deployment of ground-launched cruise missiles throughout Europe.
The criminality and recklessness of the foreign policy of Washington and its NATO allies is staggering. A pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russian forces, many of them near populated areas, could claim millions of lives in seconds and lead to a nuclear war that would obliterate humanity.
Even assuming that the US officials threatening Russia do not actually want such an outcome, however, and that they are only trying to intimidate Moscow, there is a sinister objective logic to such threats.” (Niles Williamson, Military Madness: US Officials Consider Nuclear Strikes against Russia, World Socialist Website, June 5, 2015, emphasis added)

 Nuclear Tests Worldwide

Over 2000 Nuclear Tests have been conducted since 1945. Scroll down for video

Source: Wikipedia, click to enlarge

Undeclared Nuclear States under NNPT: India, Pakistan, Israel, DPRK



Source Wikipedia

The Deployment of Nuclear Weapons by Nine Nuclear States


Source: www.Sipri.org

Nuclear Sites in the US 

“Map of major U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure sites during the Cold War and into the present. Places with grayed-out names are no longer functioning and are in various stages of environmental remediation.” (Wikipedia). Scroll down for Google Map.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Google Maps and Daily Mail 

‘The map was produced from data suppled by the Defense Department and nuclear watchdog groups.
It shows where the warheads are (in red on the map), where the civilian nuclear power plants can be found (in green) and the location of labs and nuclear weapons plants (in blue). Daily Mail 

Five “Non-Nuclear States” (Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Turkey)
Possess and Deploy Nuclear Weapons

Five non-nuclear states (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey) have deployed the B61 tactical (thermonuclear) against targets in the Middle East and the Russian Federation.. The latest and more advanced version is the B61-12, which is contemplated to replace the older B61 version.

Source: National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005

Today’s Potential Targets for US Nuclear Attacks

Are countries in the Middle East potential targets for a nuclear attack? (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Dangerous Crossroads: Is America Considering the Use of Nuclear Weapons against Libya? Global Research, April 2011).
The tactical nuclear weapons were specifically developed for use in post Cold War “conventional conflicts with third world nations”.  In October 2001, in the immediate wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld envisaged the use of the B61-11 tactical nuclear bomb in Afghanistan. The targets were Al Qaeda cave bunkers in the Tora Bora mountains.
Rumsfeld stated at the time that while the “conventional” bunker buster bombs “‘are going to be able to do the job’, … he did not rule out the eventual use of nuclear weapons.” (Quoted in the Houston Chronicle, 20 October 2001, emphasis added.)
The use of the B61-11 was also contemplated during the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq as well as in the 2011 NATO bombings of Libya.
In this regard, the B61-11 was described as “a precise, earth-penetrating low-yield nuclear weapon against high-value underground targets”, which included Saddam Hussein’s underground bunkers:

 ”If Saddam was arguably the highest value target in Iraq, then a good case could be made for using a nuclear weapon like the B61-11 to assure killing him and decapitating the regime” (Defense News, December 8, 2003).

The 1996 Plan to Nuke Libya 

The B61-11 tactical nuclear weapon was slated by the Pentagon to be used in 1996 against Libya: “Five months after [Assistant Defense Secretary] Harold Smith called for an acceleration of the B61-11 production schedule, he went public with an assertion that the Air Force would use the B61-11 [nuclear weapon] against Libya… “(http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/B61-11.htm,)

“Senior Pentagon officials ignited controversy last April [1996] by suggesting that the earth-penetrating [nuclear] weapon would soon be available for possible use against a suspected underground chemical factory being built by Libya at Tarhunah.  (David Muller, Penetrator N-Bombs, International Action Center, 1997)

Tarbunah has a population of more than 200,000 people, men, women and children. It is about 60 km East of Tripoli. Had this “humanitarian bomb” (with a ”yield” or explosive capacity of two-thirds of a Hiroshima bomb) been launched on this “suspected” WMD facility, it would have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, not to mention the nuclear fallout…  The man behind this diabolical project to nuke Libya was Assistant Secretary of Defense Harold Palmer Smith Junior. “Even before the B61 came on line, Libya was identified as a potential target”. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – September/ October 1997, p. 27 )

Concluding Remarks

Nuclear war –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.
What we are dealing with is the criminalization of the State, whereby officials in high office are complicit in fostering the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons. The media has camouflaged the implications of America’s post Cold war nuclear doctrine, which was formulated in a secret meeting at US Strategic Command Headquarters on Hiroshima Day, August 6, 2003.

On August 6, 2003, on Hiroshima Day, commemorating when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (August 6 1945), a secret meeting was held behind closed doors at Strategic Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex were in attendance. This mingling of defense contractors, scientists and policy-makers was not intended to commemorate Hiroshima. The meeting was intended to set the stage for the development of a new generation of “smaller”, “safer” and “more usable” nuclear weapons, to be used in the “in-theater nuclear wars” of the 21st Century.
In a cruel irony, the participants to this secret meeting, which excluded members of Congress, arrived on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing (August 6) and departed on the anniversary of the attack on Nagasaki (August 9). (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research, Montreal, 2012)

The Hiroshima Day 2003 meetings had set the stage for the “privatization of nuclear war”. Corporations not only reap multibillion-dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.
All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as “a weapon of last resort”, have been scrapped. “Offensive” military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of “self-defense”. During the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevailed, namely that the use of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would result in “the destruction of both the attacker and the defender”.
In the post Cold war era, US nuclear doctrine was redefined. There is no sanity in what is euphemistically called US foreign policy. At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable…
Stay informed, spread the word far and wide. To reverse the tide of war, the broader public must be informed. Post on Facebook/Twitter.
Confront the war criminals in high office.
What we really need is real “Regime Change in America”.

China Can Soon Nuke Babylon (Daniel 7)


Pentagon Says Chinese Sub That Can Hit U.S. to Go on Patrol Soon

Anthony Capaccio David Tweed

First Jin-class sub to deploy by year’s end, U.S. Says

JL-2 missile could hit all 50 U.S. states from east of Hawaii

A new Chinese nuclear submarine designed to carry missiles that can hit the U.S. will likely deploy before year’s end, the Pentagon said, adding to Obama administration concerns over China’s muscle-flexing in Asia.

China’s navy is expected this year to conduct the first patrol of its Jin-class nuclear-powered submarine armed with JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency said in a statement. It declined to give its level of confidence on when the new boat will be deployed or the status of the missile.

“The capability to maintain continuous deterrent patrols is a big milestone for a nuclear power,” Larry Wortzel, a member of the congressionally created U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said in an e-mail. “I think the Chinese would announce this capability as a show of strength and for prestige.”

The submarines are part of an effort to modernize China’s military under President Xi Jinping, who will be in Washington Thursday and Friday for a state visit with U.S. President Barack Obama. U.S.-China defense cooperation and competition will be among the topics discussed by the two leaders. The Pentagon and DIA had previously predicted the patrols would start last year.


‘Threat Inflation’

“Don’t discount the likelihood of threat inflation by the Pentagon because of the shift toward the Asia-Pacific in the revised maritime strategy,” said Collin Koh Swee Lean, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

China set out its ambitions for a bigger naval presence far from its coasts in its 2015 defense white paper released in May this year, saying it would add “open seas protection” to “offshore waters defense” to a list of core naval missions.

Wortzel said his commission’s 2015 report probably will include a comment from PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli, who said the submarine-missile combination is “a tru
mp card that makes our motherland proud and our adversaries terrified.”

China’s increased naval might, as well as its assertion to territory in the contested South China Sea and East China Sea, has helped spur the region’s largest military buildup in decades and caused disquiet in the U.S. about its role as the region’s peace keeper.

Missile Range

“The United States is a Pacific power,” U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a speech on Sept. 21. “We’ve been the guarantor of stability in the region for the past 70 years. President Obama has made it clear that we have vital interests in Asia and the Pacific, and a good part of our foreign policy has been focused on our rebalance to Asia.”

China currently has at least four Jin-class submarines. Fifty-one years after the country carried out its first nuclear test, patrols by the new submarines will give Xi greater agility to respond to a nuclear attack, according to analysts.

“Of all the PLA strategic deterrence capabilities, the sea-based link is the most closely guarded secret because it is meant to be the most secure of the deterrents for China,” said Koh, who studies China’s naval modernization.
Sending the submarines on patrol is a significant step because JL-2 missiles have a range of about 4,598 miles (7,398 kilometers.) The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has said the missiles could reach Alaska if launched from waters near Japan and all 50 U.S. states from waters east of Hawaii.

Troop Cuts

“The chances of getting a submarine east of Hawaii at a time when tensions are high, would be relatively low,” said Felix Chang, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. “But it’s not a possibility you can completely discount.”

Xi earlier this month announced plans to cut 300,000 troops and vowed never to seek “hegemony or expansion.” While the move represents the largest cut to the People’s Liberation Army in almost two decades, it may only accelerate the arms buildup in the Asia-Pacific region.

The move will speed the PLA’s transition from a large, land-based army built over decades of invasions, civil war and border conflicts to a modern, mechanized force able to defend China’s territorial integrity and growing interests abroad.

“The more modern their weapons, the fewer personnel needed,” said June Teufel Dreyer, a University of Miami political science professor, who served as a commissioner on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “Less money spent on personnel means more money for airplanes, submarines, frigates, missiles.”

Still Testing

The JL-2 “has nearly three times the range” of China’s current sea-launched ballistic missile “which was only able to range targets in the immediate vicinity of China,” the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence said in an April report on China’s Navy. The JL-2 “underwent successful testing in 2012 and is likely ready to enter the force,” it said. “Once deployed it will provide China with a capability to strike targets” in the continental U.S., it said.

Koh said reports indicate the PLA may still be conducting JL-2 tests. “If the missiles aren’t operational yet, there is no reason to send them out on patrol,” he said.

There is speculation that China is developing a new 096 Tang class nuclear-powered submarine that may be able to carry as many as 24 ballistic missiles, twice as many as the Jin-class 094 submarines, Koh said.

“So the most likely scenario is that the JL-2 is likely to be in the final stages of testing, and has been deemed successful, otherwise they wouldn’t be going ahead with the development of the 096,” said Koh.

Pentagon Worries About Nuclear Deal (Dan 8:4)

 
Nuclear Deal’s End to Iran Arms Embargo Worries Pentagon, Analysts

Pentagon
Jul 14, 2015
Military.com by Brendan McGarry and Michael Hoffman

President Obama’s nominee to become the Pentagon’s No. 2 officer joined a chorus of defense hawks worried the landmark deal meant to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions will jumpstart the Iranian economy and generate more revenue for the regime’s military forces.

Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, currently the head of U.S. Transportation Command, told Congress during his nomination hearing Tuesday that increased Iranian revenue could be used “to sponsor state terrorism should they choose to do so.

The agreement between the Iran and several Western countries, including the U.S., would allow the Islamic republic to pursue a limited atomic program for peaceful purposes over the next decade while also lifting sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy as well as a key arms embargo.

President Obama hailed the historic deal, announced on Tuesday after two years of negotiations, as a way to prevent Tehran from producing highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium — materials needed to build a nuclear weapon. Others criticized the pact, saying it would result in more funding for the regime to develop nuclear centrifuges and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“Under this deal, Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure remains largely intact,” Jim DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation, a right-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., and a former Republican senator from South Carolina, said in a statement. “The ‘freeze’ on uranium enrichment is both temporary and partial. That’s not a freeze; it’s a slight chill at best.”

What’s more, the agreement would immediately provide Iran with as much as $50 billion in sanctions relief and eventually some $150 billion more with the release of money frozen in overseas bank accounts, DeMint said. The latter figure is more than six times what Israel — a country that Iranian leaders have vowed to destroy — spends on defense each year, he said.

“The deal also gives Tehran plenty of money to ramp up these — and other — destabilizing activities,” DeMint said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will travel to Israel to reassure the key U.S. ally.
“We remain prepared and postured to bolster the security of our friends and allies in the region, including Israel; to defense against aggression; ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf; and check Iranian malign influence,” Carter said in a statement. “We will utilize the military option if necessary.”

Rise of Iranian Influence

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as the continued unrest in Syria has increased the level of influence of Iran in the region. Iraqi leaders have turned to Iran for support in pushing ISIS militants out of key cities in Iraq’s Anbar Province after Iraqi army units crumbled in the Sunni-dominated province.

Defense analysts fear that influence will grow rapidly as Iran’s military leaders gain the necessary resources to build out its military.

As part of the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. negotiators agreed to end the embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles.

Russia and China pushed hard for this embargo to end as the two countries stand to benefit from an increased arms trade with Iran. Other countries and non-state actors such as Syria, Hezbollah and North Korea could also stand to benefit as Iran seeks to boost its military while also selling arms produced in Iran.

One U.S. intelligent analyst, who asked not to be named, feared lifting the embargo will have wider influence on the U.S. and the Middle East than the changes to nuclear policy. He explained that he foresaw an arms race starting in the Middle East as the Gulf Arab states and Israel seek to protect themselves from a strengthening Iran. Egypt, for example, bought Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France in the midst of negotiations.

Carter warned last week against the lifting of the embargo, specifically on ballistic missiles, when he spoke before Congress. He said the Pentagon wants to make sure Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program does not advance.

The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an I.C.B.M. program is that the ‘I’ in I.C.B.M. stands for ‘intercontinental,’ which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States,” Carter told Congress.

‘Built on Verification

The White House said the agreement will curb Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, put two-thirds of its centrifuges under international supervision, modify its nuclear reactor in Arak so it can’t produce weapons-grade plutonium and ship spent fuel from the reactor out of the country.

“Iran currently has a stockpile that could produce up to 10 nuclear weapons,” Obama said in a statement. “Now, its uranium stockpile will be reduced to a fraction of what would be required for a single weapon.”

He added, “This deal is not built on trust — it’s built on verification. Under this deal, we will, for the first time, be in a position to verify that Iran is meeting all of these commitments.”

— Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com
— Michael Hoffman can be reached at mike.hoffman@military.com

Antichrist And US Finally Concur On Something (Rev 13)

xlarge_sadr
Moqtada al-Sadr and Pentagon concur: It’s the wrong name at the wrong time

France 24

You know you’re in trouble when firebrand Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr thinks your operation codename is…well, a bit too firebrand Shiite for his taste.

Yes, it’s true. Scary Sadr, from the scary old Mahdi Army days, has weighed in on the latest debate over the codename given to a military operation to take back ISIS-controlled, Sunni areas of western Iraq.

On Tuesday, the Hashd al-Shaabi — an umbrella for mostly Shiite militias sometimes called the Popular/People’s Mobilization Forces — launched an operation to liberate ISIS-held parts of Iraq’s Sunni heartlands. The codename for the liberating mission, Hashd al-Shaabi spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi told reporters in Iraq, was “Operation Labaik ya Hussein”.

Ya Hussein, what sort of operation name is that for a Shiite force “liberating” their Sunni brothers?

“Labaik ya Hussein” has been translated by many news organizations as “We are at your service, Hussein” although Juan Cole’s version, “Here I am, O Husayn” is probably more accurate.

Hussein (also spelt Husayn or Hussain), one of Shiite Islam’s most revered imams, was the son of Imam Ali and Prophet Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah Zahra. Hussein’s death during the 7th century Battle of Karbala marked the birth of Islam’s bitter Sunni-Shia divide and it’s an anniversary commemorated across the Shiite world with massive processions featuring paroxysms of grief and self-flagellation accompanied by chants, of which, “Labaik ya Hussein” is a central, rallying cry.

Over the centuries, tomes of theological discourse have been devoted to parsing and interpreting that cry of supplication. In a 2009 speech, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah kicked off a fiery discourse on the signature Shiite chant proclaiming, “The Americans don’t understand what ‘Labaik ya Hussein’ means. They pass over the meaning without knowing the significance of it,” he roared.

But this time, for once, the stupid Americans actually got it. In what is perhaps the biggest understatement of the current anti-ISIS campaign, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren expressed disappointment at the operation’s codename, calling it “unhelpful”.

Unhelpful? You bet.

A red rag for a wounded bull

Let’s be clear: Sunnis at large are not anti-Hussein. He is, after all, the grandson of the Prophet. They just don’t revere him as much as the Shiites. In the gentler, more tolerant old days — before Saudi-funded Wahabism spread its austere, uncompromising tentacles across the Muslim world — this codename would have been okay.

But today, it’s not — and certainly not in today’s Iraq.

Naming an operation by saber-rattling Shiite militias into the disgruntled Iraqi Sunni heartlands “Labaik ya Hussein” is like waving a red rag at a bull. And this bull, I fear, could charge straight into ISIS’s arms.

ISIS –- or IS or ISIL or Daesh -– of course styles itself as the savior of marginalized Sunnis against the Iran-backed Shiite (and therefore apostate) powers in Baghdad and Damascus. That’s the prime ISIS recruitment card, especially in Iraq. For months now, US military officials having been desperately trying to win back the support of the Sahwa (Awakening) Sunni sheikhs who helped expel al Qaeda before the US pullout from Iraq.

Well, good luck to that effort. Convincing Iraq’s Sunni sheikhs to join “Operation Labaik ya Hussein” is like convincing the IRA to join an Orange march through Northern Ireland.

From great Arab armies to great Arab militias

When he replaced the disastrous Nuri al-Maliki as prime minister last year, Haider al-Abadi represented the hope that his predecessor’s sectarian way of doing business would end and that the new chief would be able to draw his disgruntled Sunni citizenry into the national fold.

But poor Abadi is looking more like the Viceroy of Baghdad than the prime minister of Iraq these days. Of course he would have preferred to rely solely on the Iraqi security forces. But let’s not waste time on that so called, once-great Arab army. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter was dead right in his assessment of the Iraqi security forces showing no will to battle ISIS, White House damage control notwithstanding. I haven’t seen a great Arab army winning any wars in my lifetime. But I hear, from history books, that they once roamed this earth.

These days, we have great Arab militias, which become even more powerful and even more destabilizing with time and battlefield victories.

And that, for Abadi — a suave civilian politician raised in Baghdad’s affluent Karada district by his mother of Lebanese origin before moving to Britain to start an engineering business — is a ticking bomb. The militias could present a threat to Abadi’s authority and if they do, all bets are off on how he will manage or weather that storm.

If Operation Labaik ya Hussein does succeed in liberating Ramadi and other ISIS-held regions, the Hashd al-Shaabi groups could well get even more cocky and triumphant. And we only have to look to Libya to see what happens when cocky, triumphant armed men believe they are national saviors and refuse to go gently into the night.

Maliki, the spoiler of Baghdad

Abadi’s position is further enfeebled by the presence of his predecessor playing spoiler in political and influential Shiite circles.

As journalist Borzou Daragahi noted in the Financial Times, “Abadi may be prime minister of Iraq, but he still does not live in the palace designated for him in the capital’s fortified Green Zone. That is because his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, has refused to move out.”

A “high-ranking member of Abdadi’s cabinet” told Daragahi that, “Maliki is opposed to every step the government makes…Deep down he [Maliki] feels he is being betrayed and he has been treated unfairly by everybody.”

This has alarming shades of the power play in another embattled Arab capital being ripped by the increasingly dangerous Sunni-Shia divide.

In the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, ousted autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh has gone to bed with his old enemy, the Shiite Houthis, in a bid to undermine an already undermined Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is currently cooling his heels in exile in Saudi Arabia.

The longstanding political myth in the Arab world has been that it takes a strongman to govern and hold together these nations. When he was president, Saleh famously defined his job description as “dancing on the heads of snakes”. Hadi has proved to be a lumbering dancer. If Abadi is not able to rein in the Shiite militias and comes off as a well-meaning, urbane nice guy incapable of dancing on snakes or riding the Shiite militia tiger, this does not bode well for the security of Iraq as we once knew it.

As for Hezbollah’s ‘Labaik ya Zainab’

Meanwhile, in neighboring Syria, Hezbollah militants helping President Bashar al-Assad cling to power regularly chant, “Labaik ya Zainab” at the funerals of fellow fighters killed in Syria.

Zainab was Hussein’s sister, who was captured during the Battle of Karbala and taken to Damascus, then seat of Umayyad power and currently home to a magnificent shrine dedicated to the Prophet’s granddaughter. The defense of this Damascene shrine is an important propaganda chip in Hezbollah’s efforts to paint their support for Assad as a pan-Shiite resistance against the Sunnis.

Slogans like “Labaik ya Zainab” and Labaik ya Hussein” are redolent with textual and sub-textual meaning in the Muslim world — as clerics like Hassan Nasrallah and Moqtada al-Sadr know all too well.

So, when Sadr issued a statement Wednesday acknowledging that the latest operation codename “is going to be misunderstood, there is no doubt,” someone should have listened to him.

Sadr even offered alternate mission names such as “Labaik ya Salaheddin” or “Labaik ya Anbar”.

By late Wednesday, the Hashd al-Shaabi had heeded Sadr’s call, if not his alternate brand suggestions. Following complaints of sectarianism from local Anbaris who loudly proclaimed their distrust in paramilitaries that pursue “an Iranian agenda,” the Hashd finally announced a new codename.

Iraqi state TV said the paramilitaries had renamed the campaign “Labaik ya Iraq” with Hashd al-Shaabi spokesman Karim al-Nouri breezily declaring the old and new codenames had “the same meaning.” The matter, according to Nouri, had been settled. “Now we have opted for ‘Iraq’ and there is no problem,” he declared.

Alas, the problem hasn’t disappeared. The name change came too late to assure too many already suspicious Iraqi Sunnis, the damage has been done.

As I said, when the likes of Sadr represent the voices of moderation and inclusion, you know you’re in trouble. Especially since Sadr’s own paramilitary force, Saraya al-Salam, is involved in the Shiite militia fight against ISIS. This in turn underscores the precarious nature of the Hashed al-Shaabi alliance. Right now, there are signs of some competition between the groups. But, as Wednesday’s late name change shows, the alliance is holding together for the most in the joint fight against ISIS. If that cohesion starts to crumble though, and Iraqi Sunni disaffection only mounts, ya Hussein, we’re in for a very bloody period indeed.

West Coast Prone To Nuclear Attacks (Dan 7)

 
SERIOUS FLAWS REVEALED IN U.S. ANTI-MISSILE NUCLEAR DEFENSE AGAINST NORTH KOREA
By DAVID WILLMAN contact the reporter
Two serious technical flaws have been identified in the ground-launched anti-missile interceptors that the United States would rely on to defend against a nuclear attack by North Korea.
Pentagon officials were informed of the problems as recently as last summer but decided to postpone corrective action. They told federal auditors that acting immediately to fix the defects would interfere with the production of new interceptors and slow a planned expansion of the nation’s homeland missile defense system, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
As a result, all 33 interceptors now deployed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and Ft. Greely, Alaska, have one of the defects. Ten of those interceptors — plus eight being prepared for delivery this year — have both.
Summing up the effect on missile-defense readiness, the GAO report said that “the fielded interceptors are susceptible to experiencing … failure modes,” resulting in “an interceptor fleet that may not work as intended.”
The flaws could disrupt sensitive on-board systems that are supposed to steer the interceptors into enemy missiles in space.
The GAO report, an annual assessment of missile defense programs prepared for congressional committees, describes the problems in terse, technical terms. Defense specialists interviewed by The Times provided more detail.
The interceptors form the heart of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, GMD for short. Four of the massive, three-stage rockets are stationed at Vandenberg and 29 at Ft. Greely.
They would rise out of underground silos in response to an attack. Atop each interceptor is a 5-foot-long “kill vehicle,” designed to separate from its boost rocket in space, fly independently at a speed of 4 miles per second and crash into an enemy warhead — a feat that has been likened to hitting one bullet with another.
The GMD system was deployed in 2004 as part of the nation’s response to Sept. 11, 2001, and a heightened fear of attack by terrorist groups or rogue states. It has cost taxpayers more than $40 billion so far and has been plagued by technical deficiencies.
One of the newly disclosed shortcomings centers on wiring harnesses embedded within the kill vehicles’ dense labyrinth of electronics.
A supplier used an unsuitable soldering material to assemble harnesses in at least 10 interceptors deployed in 2009 and 2010 and still part of the fleet.
The same material was used in the eight interceptors that will be placed in silos this year, according to GAO analyst Cristina Chaplain, lead author of the report.
The soldering material is vulnerable to corrosion in the interceptors’ underground silos, some of which have had damp conditions and mold. Corrosion “could have far-reaching effects” because the “defective wiring harnesses” supply power and data to the kill vehicle’s on-board guidance system, said the GAO report, which is dated May 6.
When Boeing Co., prime contractor for the GMD system, informed government officials of the problem last summer, they did not insist upon repair or replacement of the defective harnesses, according to the report.
Instead, Missile Defense Agency officials “assessed the likelihood for the component’s degradation in the operational environment as low and decided to accept the component as is,” the report said.
The decision minimized delays in producing new interceptors, “but increased the risk for future reliability failures,” the report said.
Chaplain told The Times that based on her staff’s discussions with the Missile Defense Agency, officials there have “no timeline” for repairing the wiring harnesses.
The agency encountered a similar problem with wiring harnesses years earlier, and the supplier was instructed not to use the deficient soldering material. But “the corrective actions were not passed along to other suppliers,” according to the GAO report.
L. David Montague, co-chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed operations of the Missile Defense Agency, said officials should promptly set a schedule for fixing the harnesses.
“The older they are with that kind of a flawed soldering, the more likely they are to fail,” Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp., said in an interview.
The second newly disclosed defect involves a component called a divert thruster, a small motor intended to help maneuver the kill vehicles in flight. Each kill vehicle has four of them.
The GAO report refers to “performance issues” with the thrusters. It offers few details, and GAO auditors declined to elaborate, citing a fear of revealing classified information. They did say that the problem is different from an earlier concern that the thruster’s heavy vibrations could throw off the kill vehicle’s guidance system.
The report and interviews with defense specialists make clear that problems with the divert thruster have bedeviled the interceptor fleet for years. To address deficiencies in the original version, Pentagon contractors created a redesigned “alternate divert thruster.”
The government planned to install the new version in many of the currently deployed interceptors over the next few years and to retrofit newly manufactured interceptors, according to the GAO report and interviews with its authors.
That plan was scrapped after the alternate thruster, in November 2013, failed a crucial ground test to determine whether it could withstand the stresses of flight, the report said. To stay on track for expanding the fleet, senior Pentagon officials decided to keep building interceptors with the original, deficient thruster.
The GAO report faulted the Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon, for “omitting steps in the design process” of the alternate thruster in the rush to deploy more interceptors. The skipped steps would have involved a lengthier, more rigorous vetting of the new design, defense specialists said. The report said the omission contributed to the 2013 test failure.
All 33 interceptors now deployed have the original, defective thruster. The eight interceptors to be added to the fleet this year will contain the same component, GAO officials told The Times.
The missile agency currently “does not plan to fix” those thrusters, despite their “known performance issues,” said the GAO report.
Contractors are continuing to work on the alternate thruster, hoping to correct whatever caused the ground-test failure. The first test flight using the alternate thruster is scheduled for late this year.
The GAO had recommended that the Pentagon postpone integrating the eight new interceptors into the fleet until after that test. Defense Department officials rebuffed the recommendation, the report said.
In a response included in the report, Assistant Secretary of Defense Katharina G. McFarland wrote that delaying deployment of the new interceptors “would unacceptably increase the risk” that the Pentagon would fall short of its goal of expanding the GMD system from 33 interceptors to 44 by the end of 2017.
Asked for comment on the report, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, Richard Lehner, said in a statement that officials “have in place a comprehensive, disciplined program to improve and enhance” the GMD system “regarding the issues noted by the GAO.”
“We will continue to work closely with our industry partners to ensure quality standards are not only met, but exceeded,” the statement said.
Boeing declined to comment.
The GMD system is designed to repel a “limited” missile attack by a non-superpower adversary, such as North Korea. The nation’s defense against a massive nuclear assault by Russia or China still relies on “mutually assured destruction,” the Cold War notion that neither country would strike first for fear of a devastating counterattack.
GMD’s roots go back to the Clinton administration, when concern began to mount over the international spread of missile technology and nuclear development programs. In 2002, President Bush ordered “an initial set of missile defense capabilities” to be put in place within two years to protect the U.S.
To accelerate deployment, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld exempted the missile agency from the Pentagon’s standard procurement rules and testing standards.
Engineers trace the system’s difficulties to the breakneck pace at which components were produced and fielded. In precisely scripted flight tests above the Pacific, interceptors have failed to hit mock-enemy warheads about half the time.
As a result, the missile agency projects that four or five interceptors would have to be fired at any single enemy warhead, according to current and former government officials. Under this scenario, a volley of 10 enemy missiles could exhaust the entire U.S. inventory of interceptors.
The Obama administration, after resisting calls for a larger system, pledged two years ago to increase the number of interceptors to 44. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have pushed for further expansion. The House this month passed a bill authorizing $30 million to plan and design a site for interceptors on the East Coast. The White House called the move “premature.”
david.willman@latimes.com

Babylon Finally Admits Knowledge Of Israeli Nukes

Dimona nuclear reactor circa 1960s

US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel’s Nuclear Program

Obama revenge for Netanyahu’s Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel’s top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move.
 
By Ari Yashar, Matt Wanderman

In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.

But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.

The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program and how the deal being formed on that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout capabilities.

Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel’s sensitive nuclear program, it kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other NATO countries classified, with those sections blocked out in the document.

The 386-page report entitled “Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations” gives a detailed description of how Israel advanced its military technology and developed its nuclear infrastructure and research in the 1970s and 1980s.

Israel is “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” reveals the report, stating that in the 1980s Israelis were reaching the ability to create bombs considered a thousand times more powerful than atom bombs.

The revelation marks a first in which the US published in a document a description of how Israel attained hydrogen bombs.

The report also notes research laboratories in Israel “are equivalent to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” the key labs in developing America’s nuclear arsenal.

Israel’s nuclear infrastructure is “an almost exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our 
National Laboratories,” it adds.

“As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,” the report reveals, noting a time frame just after America tested its first hydrogen bomb.

Institute for Defense Analysis, a federally funded agency operating under the Pentagon, penned the report back in 1987.

Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the time had “a totally integrated effort in systems development throughout the nation,” with electronic combat all in one “integrated system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force.” It even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology “is more advanced than in the U.S.”

Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above, and given that the process to have it published was started three years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the American government.

US journalist Grant Smith petitioned to have the report published based on the Freedom of Information Act. Initially the Pentagon took its time answering, leading Smith to sue, and a District Court judge to order the Pentagon to respond to the request.

Smith, who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, reportedly said he thinks this is the first time the US government has officially confirmed that Israel is a nuclear power, a status that Israel has long been widely known to have despite being undeclared.

Pakistan Is Changing The Game In Nuclear Warfare (Rev 16:8)

Washington: The US has anticipated that Pakistan will continue developing cruise missiles and close-range “battlefield” nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles, a top US intelligence official has said.
The 21st Century: Short Range Nuclear Warfare

The 21st Century: Short Range Nuclear Warfare

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2015 | Last Update : 09:30 PM IST
Deccan Chronicle

“Pakistan continues to take steps to improve security of its nuclear arsenal. We anticipate that Pakistan will continue development of new delivery systems, including cruise missiles and close-range ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons to augment its existing ballistic missiles,” Lt Gen Vincent R Stewart, Director of Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on global threat assessment.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Stewart said Pakistan’s Army and paramilitary forces remain deployed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Army ground operations in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) have cleared anti-state militants from most population centres. “We expect the military will continue targeting remaining militant strongholds in 2015,” he said.

The December 2014 Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attack against the Army-run school in Peshawar that killed more than 140 people, mostly children, has emboldened military efforts against anti-state militants, including intensified airstrikes against TTP leadership and fighters, he said.

The government and military are also working together to implement a national action plan against terrorism, which includes the establishment of military courts, he added.

“Despite ongoing military operations, Pakistan will continue to face internal security threats from militant, sectarian, and separatist groups. Additionally, Pakistan remains concerned about ISIL outreach and propaganda in South Asia,” the intelligence official said.

On Afghanistan, Stewart said the still-developing Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) remain stalemated with the Taliban-led insurgency.

“In 2015 we expect the ANSF to maintain stability and security in Kabul and key urban areas while retaining freedom of movement on major highways. However, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their extremist allies will likely seek to exploit the reduced Coalition presence by pressuring ANSF units in rural areas, conducting high profile attacks in major population centres, and expanding their safe havens,” he said.

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Attack

North Korean Nuclear Missiles

North Korean Nuclear Missiles

SEOUL: A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accusing Washington of raising military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The threat came from Hwang Pyong-So, director of the military’s General Political Bureau, during a speech to a large military rally in Pyongyang Sunday on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hwang, who holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army, said a recent series of South Korea-US military drills, one of which included the deployment of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, had ramped up tensions.

“If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon — the sources of all evil,” Hwang said in his speech broadcast Monday on state television.

It is not the first time that North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric has included threats of nuclear strikes on the continental United States and US bases in the Pacific.

But most experts believe it is still a long way from developing a viable intercontinental ballistic missile with the required range.

The North has conducted three nuclear tests, but is not thought to have mastered the miniaturisation techniques necessary for mounting a warhead on a missile.

It does possess a range of short-and mid-range missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan, and has conducted a series of test firings into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in recent weeks.

The latest test on Saturday — guided by the leader Kim Jong-Un — simulated a short-range missile strike on South Korea where 28,500 US troops are stationed, the North’s state media said.

It defied censure by the UN Security Council which officially condemned Pyongyang on July 17 over the recent tests as violations of UN resolutions prohibiting the North from using ballistic missile technology.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/World/2014/Jul-28/265367-nkorea-threatens-nuclear-strike-on-white-house.ashx#ixzz38p8OD4ac
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)