The Canadian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Dolgert: Here’s why Canada should get nuclear weapons


Dozens of protesters staged a demonstration at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to mark the 72nd anniversary of the atomic attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Justin Sullivan, Getty Images JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Please consider inaugurating a nuclear armament program. Please begin this process now.
I never imagined writing something like this. American by birth, but now also a Canadian citizen, I’ve always regarded the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a stain on my birth nation’s honour. But the time has come to face reality, and the foreign minister’s June speech reasserting Canadian sovereignty is only the beginning of the reckoning.
We are in many ways living through a replay of the 1930s: a world struggling in the wake of economic cataclysm, fascists rising across Europe and an authoritarian in power (this time in the United States) cultivates support from the radical right.
Tyranny is on the march, and there is no clear end-point in sight. We can no longer assume that our country’s safety is assured, and even proposals for anti-missile defence don’t go far enough because they assume a democratic U.S. – the very thing that is now in question.
Alarmist? Maybe. But the consequences of a misstep now — the 21st-century equivalent of 1933, the year of Hitler’s ascendance — are dire, and we can’t regain later the time that we lose now. Nuclear programs take time to initiate, and in order to be prepared for our version of 1939 (the start of the Second World War), we cannot allow these to be “the locust years,” as Winston Churchill described the time wasted between 1933 and 1939.
So this is 1933. Start the countdown.
America is on a quest to demonize Muslims, round up Mexican immigrants, restrict trade, break up NATO and help Vladimir Putin divvy up the world. If you want to understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, think “Mafia Protection Racket.” Just change the little shop-owners, forced to pay up, into little nations across the globe.
Canada is a small shopkeeper not so well-positioned to resist this new racket.
To understand what it’s like being beside a bully in today’s world, look at Ukraine. Perhaps the greatest mistake that country made after the breakup of the USSR was to get rid of its nuclear weapons. The consequences? Russia seizes Crimea and effectively invades eastern Ukraine by arming Russian secessionists there. This could also happen to Latvia and the Baltic states.
Could it happen here? For more than a century, Canadian policy could assume that, while the U.S. might be an 800-lbs gorilla on our doorstep, at least the gorilla played by the rules. But Trump has said the old rules won’t apply, and his selection of white nationalists and conspiracy theorists to powerful roles in his administration indicates he is not kidding.
Most troublingly, recent Congressional Republican capitulation on “L’Affaire Russe” shows us that the famed “checks and balances” of the U.S. Constitution mean little, and that the path to American authoritarianism is wide open.
To plan for the day when the U.S. is more like Putin’s aggressive bear, Canada must be able to protect itself without anyone’s assistance. A conventional military buildup is nonsensical, given the size disparity between the U.S., Russia, and ourselves.
But as Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have shown, nuclear arms are a pragmatic deterrent for small nations adjacent to populous neighbours of uncertain motives.
Yes, this might provoke the ire of Trump or Putin, and hasten the conflict it means to stave off. That risk must be carefully weighed. But what do you think Ukraine would do, given the chance to go back and keep its nukes?
Was Ukrainian disarmament rewarded with Russian pacifism? Who, other than Putin, is Trump’s model for strong leadership? And, speaking of Putin, who is looking to contest Canada’s future Arctic claims? If you think Trump will support us against Russia’s coming provocations, think again.
Rather than trigger a crisis, I expect this strategy would preserve the peace, by forcing potential aggressors to acknowledge a far more potent Canadian response.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that America is our enemy. Canada just needs to prepare to ensure its own security in an uncertain world, which requires having the resources to face any potential future conflict.
Starting a nuclear program is not easy. It takes time and research to determine the most practical options for Canada. It will also require withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a step with major ramifications that requires careful consideration.
Importantly, however, we should not think that such a program would be inherently “un-Canadian.” For two decades, during the Cold War, we had up to 450 nuclear warheads permanently stationed on Canadian bases (though these were not under exclusive Canadian control). We need to trust in ourselves even more now, and stop relying on others to protect us.
Maybe I’m being alarmist. Maybe. But at what point does alarmism become prudence? Not when an aggressor makes the first overt threats – by then it’s too late. If 1933 (i.e. now) is too soon, then when? At some point we must be ready to start the discussion about protecting ourselves, and three years’ grace is about the best we can hope for.
After that we have to rely on the United Kingdom or United States to bail us out … Oh, wait.
Stefan Dolgert is an associate professor in the department of Political Science at Brock University in St. Catharines, and can be found on Twitter @PosthumanProf.

An Unprecedented Alliance (Daniel 7:7)

By John Irish and Andrea Shalal | MUNICH
Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.
Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region.
While Saudi Arabia remains historically at odds with Israel, their ministers demanded at the Munich Security Conference that Tehran be punished for propping up the Syrian government, developing ballistic missiles and funding separatists in Yemen.
International sanctions on Iran were lifted a year ago under a nuclear deal with world powers, but Republican senators said at the conference they would press for new U.S. measures over the missiles issue and Tehran’s actions to „destabilize“ the Middle East.
He sidestepped a question about Israel’s call for concerted action with Sunni Arab states amid growing speculation that the two countries could normalize relations and join forces to oppose Tehran, much as Turkey has done.
The six Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and build its own sphere of influence in the Middle East. Iran denies the accusations.
„Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,“ Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the conference. „It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East … (and) until and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.“
Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, funding the Houthi movement in Yemen and fomenting violence across the region.
The international community needed to set clear „red lines“ to halt Iran’s actions, he said, calling for banking, travel and trade restrictions aimed at changing Tehran’s behavior.
„The real division is not Jews, Muslims … but moderate people versus radical people,“ Lieberman told delegates.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also criticized what he called an Iranian „sectarian policy“ aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
„Turkey is very much against any kind of division, religious or sectarian,“ he said. „It’s good that we are now normalizing our relations with Israel.“
Zarif opened Sunday’s session with the call for dialogue to address „anxieties“ in the region. This followed a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait last week to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Gulf states since taking power in 2013.
Asked if Iran’s envisioned regional dialogue could include Israel, Zarif said Tehran was looking at a more „modest“ approach. „I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam,“ he said.
Zarif dismissed any suggestions his country would ever seek to develop nuclear weapons. When asked about the new U.S. administration’s tough rhetoric on Iran’s role in the region and calls to review the nuclear deal, he said Tehran did not respond well to threats or sanctions.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other senators were preparing legislation to further sanction Iran for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions with its missile development program and other actions.
Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Washington needed to decide whether to take a broader role in the regional conflict.
„We have to make a decision whether we are going to get involved in the emerging proxy war in a bigger way than we are today, between Iran and Saudi Arabia,“ he said.
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by David Stamp)

The Chinese Nuclear Threat (Daniel 7)

thediplomat_2016-07-11_19-54-55-386x292 

China, the United States, and MIRVs: Challenges to Strategic Stability in Asia

Is China mimicking U.S. and Soviet Cold War strategic behavior by modernizing its DF-5 and possibly its DF-41 ballistic missiles to carry multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs)? The U.S. Department of Defense annual report to Congress on China’s military and security developments suggests this may be the case. According to the Pentagon, China’s deployment of MIRVed missiles and its broader missile modernization efforts are intended to strengthen its ability to counter U.S. and Russian missile defense systems while providing a hedge against Indian defense modernization. But some Chinese nuclear experts believe otherwise.

Professor Li Bin, a prominent interlocutor in these debates, claims, for instance, that Beijing is using decoys and other BMD countermeasures, but not MIRVs. Whatever the reality, the perception that China possesses MIRVs works in its favor. New Delhi, fearing that China could be on the verge of a counterforce capability, could be provoked into abandoning its characteristic restraint. Such were the fears the Soviets had about strengthened U.S. strategic capabilities when the latter started MIRVing in the early 1960s, which led to an escalated arms race between the two Cold War rivals. It is likely that we will see a repeat of this pattern whereby the same fears will be felt by India vis-à-vis Chinese MIRVing and by Pakistan vis-à-vis Indian MIRVing.

In “China’s Belated Embrace of MIRVs,” part of a new book — The Lure and Pitfalls of MIRVs: From the First to the Second Nuclear Age — published by the Stimson Center, Jeffrey G. Lewis explores the dilemmas now confronting China after its 2015 decision to deploy MIRVs on its DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). In Lewis’ opinion, Beijing sees MIRVs as attractive delivery systems in so far as they facilitate greater warhead accuracy and maintain a certain qualitative equivalence in technological capabilities vis-à-vis Washington.

MIRVs might also give China the technical edge it requires to counter nascent U.S. missile defenses. Yet, multiple-warhead missiles are not without serious drawbacks. One danger is that MIRVs — and the expansive targeting requirements they might engender — could draw the People’s Republic into a costly quantitative arms race with the United States. Lewis explores other possibilities in great detail including whether China’s deployment of MIRVs could lead to “classic forms of deterrence instability” and “operational entanglement” involving sea- and space-based forces, scenarios that could increase the likelihood of a nuclear exchange during a Sino-American conflict.

Beijing’s deployment of MIRVs clarifies several issues related to Chinese nuclear modernization. First, the modernization drive – through embracing MIRVs or building missile defenses – appears to be a reaction to burgeoning U.S. conventional precision-strike capabilities and the impending rejuvenation of the nuclear triad. In effect, China is engaged in a technological competition with the United States that it cannot escape despite its past efforts to maintain a restrained nuclear posture. No arms control arrangement appears to be on the horizon given prevalent U.S.-Chinese strategic dynamics, a concern for South Asia because China’s evolving nuclear posture motivates Indian modernization, and, in turn, Pakistan’s nuclear stockpiling. This underscores that the nuclear spiral in which India and Pakistan are engaged is driven by strategic competition between Beijing and Washington in addition to the subcontinental rivalry.

Second, China’s nuclear modernization indicates that Chinese leaders continue to worry that its nuclear forces remain vulnerable to a U.S. first strike, perhaps especially because China has a no first use (NFU) policy while the United States does not. The United States might be tempted to conduct a preemptive strike in the event of a crisis given its massive and precise conventional and nuclear capabilities.

Since Chinese ICBMs in silos – MIRVed or not – and mobile ICBMs might be targeted in a U.S. first strike, China’s incentives for deploying submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) are growing. In such a crisis scenario, whether China has an NFU would not really matter. Once Chinese SLBMs are in the Pacific, the Sino-U.S. equation would become mutually vulnerable. This would also make the whole region more crisis prone since what Li Bin characterizes as “technical lagging” behind the United States will remain a concern in Chinese national security circles. Any increase in Chinese conventional or nuclear capabilities will create incentives for India to modernize, which in turn will justify Pakistan’s development of new doctrines and postures.

Strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region is threatened by the Chinese-U.S. strategic competition, in which China is struggling to keep up. The United States could ameliorate the security dilemma for China by scaling back on its conventional and nuclear modernization, refreshing its pledge for nuclear disarmament and by signing a bilateral NFU with China, similar to the one China has with Russia. This gesture might also prompt India and China, and India and Pakistan, to consider bilateral NFU agreements, which would strengthen strategic stability in South Asia. In addition to bilateral NFU agreements, universal ratification and entry into force (EIF) of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is perhaps the single most important step through which the technological determinism prevalent in the strategic competition in Asia can be checked and moderated.

Put simply, absent hot testing of warhead designs, countries in Asia without robust testing legacies will struggle to produce small enough warheads to enable aggressive MIRVing. In order to generate the momentum for the closure and EIF of the CTBT, the United States and China can jointly lead the way by simultaneously ratifying the treaty and then inviting India and Pakistan to simultaneously sign and ratify the CTBT. It might sound like an idealistic solution to a complex problem, but this is the one with real potential for preventing not one, but multiple, nuclear holocausts.

Dr. Rabia Akhtar is Director, Centre for Security, Strategy, and Policy Research, University of Lahore. A version of this piece originally appeared at South Asian Voices (@SAVoices), on online platform for strategic analysis and debate hosted by the Stimson Center.

The Canadian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Canada to boost strategic ties with India with Defence, nuclear push 
NEW DELHI: Canada is planning to send a delegation to the Def Expo in Goa later this month to explore partnership in the area of defence electronics as it eyes an expansion in strategic ties with India, including an opportunity to set up nuclear reactors in the country.
India is among the top priorities for the Justin Trudeau government that came to power late last year, Canadian High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel told ET.
Last April PM Narendra Modi had the opportunity to meet Trudeau when the latter was the Opposition leader. A Canadian nuclear mission comprising nuclear firms and officials visited India in October last year and both sides have explored cooperation in pressurised heavy water reactors, training, capacity building and nuclear waste management.
“Following this visit there have been intense discussions between the officials of the two countries. Given the opportunity Canada could consider setting up nuclear reactors in India and upgrading Indian reactors run on CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) technology,” Patel said.
Canada will follow the USA, Russia and France in setting up nuclear reactors in India if a decision is taken to allot the country a plant site.
Patel said Canada is partnering India in maintenance aspects of the nuclear sector. The civil nuclear partnership between the two countries entered a new phase with the conclusion of commercial pact during Modi’s trip for supply of uranium from the North American country to energy hungry India.
Following this the first tranche of uranium from Canada arrived here four decades after civil nuclear cooperation was suspended following the test at Pokhran. Canada will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium beginning last year under a $254 million five-year deal to power Indian atomic reactors.

Canadian Horn Supplying India With Nukes (Dan 7:7)

Modi-Canada
After a pause of four decades, India to receive nuclear fuel supply from Canada in autumn 2015

15 Jun, 2015, 0400 hrs IST, Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: India is expected to start receiving nuclear fuel from Canada in autumn this year to power its atomic power plants, marking resumption of supply more than four decades after the North American country suspended supply of yellowcake in the backdrop of Pokhran-I atomic tests by India in 1974.
Senior officials of Cameco, Canada’s leading and one of the world’s largest uranium producers, visited India last week to discuss modalities for supplying nuclear fuel to the country, officials said. This followed signing of the uranium supply agreement between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada in April. “This is a concrete outcome of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada this April. We are expecting first uranium supply later this year as part of the steady supply of nuclear fuel that has been agreed,” Canadian High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel told ET.
Patel said that tracking of nuclear fuel to be supplied will be carried out as per International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards as agreed by India and to the satisfaction of Canada. Canada will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium to energy-hungry India under a $254 million five-year deal to power atomic reactors. Canada was the first country to complete the requirements for civil nuclear cooperation after India secured the unconditional waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008. Subsequently, India and Canada signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010. This was followed by the signing of an administrative arrangement in 2012.
Cameco has been holding commercial negotiations with Indian entities ever since for supply of uranium to fuel nuclear power plants in the country which has faced uranium shortage in the past.
Patel said the supply of uranium will be just one part of the comprehensive civil nuclear partnership. The Canadian civil nuclear trade mission to India in October will explore partnership for joint research and collaboration. This could include jointly producing civil nuclear reactors with Indian partners or setting up of nuclear reactors by Canadian companies, he said.
The high commissioner said Canada is positively viewing the clarification provided by India on the Nuclear Liability Law and Indo-US breakthrough on nuclear deal achieved during President Barack Obama’s trip to India.

The Saudis Will Go Nuclear (Dan 7)

  

The Saudis are ready to go nuclear

By Con Coughlin
6:00AM BST 08 Jun 2015

The kingdom’s ambassador to London tells the Telegraph that ‘all options are on the table’ if talks fail to keep Iran in check

Since its creation 85 years ago, Saudi Arabia has acquired a reputation as a country that tries to avoid confrontation with its neighbours at all costs. During the long war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s the Saudis desperately sought to preserve their neutrality, even if Riyadh’s sympathies lay with its fellow Sunni co-religionists in Iraq rather than the Shi’ite Muslim hardliners running Iran.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the two Gulf wars against Saddam Hussein was kept to a minimum. Saudi warplanes made a modest contribution to the overall air campaign during the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, while Riyadh steadfastly refused to involve itself in the 2003 Iraq war. In other conflicts affecting the region, such as the Palestinian intifada, the Saudis have preferred to channel their immense oil wealth in support of Arab allies rather than become directly involved in the strife.
But then this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around £37 billion (compared with the UK at around £34 billion). The military offensive in Yemen has seen Saudi Arabia deploy an estimated 150,000 troops – nearly twice the size of the British Army – while Saudi fighter jets, many of them British-made, have flown thousands of sorties.

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s long-serving ambassador to London, says that for many years the kingdom upheld the policy established by the late King Fahd that Riyadh would not pursue a policy of developing nuclear weapons. “Then it became known that Iran was pursuing a policy that could be shifted to a weapons-of-mass-destruction programme,” Prince Mohammed explained in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph. “This has changed the whole outlook in the region.”

Like many in the Arab world and beyond, the Saudis are hoping the current negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue, being led by US President Barack Obama, will provide assurances that Tehran does not possess the means to build an atom bomb.

“We have always expressed our support for resolving the Iranian nuclear file in a diplomatic way and through negotiation,” said Prince Mohammed. “We commend the American president’s effort in this regard, provided that any deal reached is watertight and is not the kind of deal that offers Iran a licence to continue its destabilising foreign policies in the region. The proof is in the pudding.”
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, the UK, France, China and Russia (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Germany – are due to be concluded by the end of this month. Negotiators are pressing Tehran to freeze key elements of its uranium-enrichment cycle – which can be used to produce nuclear warheads – in return for easing the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Despite attempts lasting more than a decade to resolve the issue, Iran has yet to make any significant concessions on its nuclear programme. The New York Times reported last week that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel had increased by 20 per cent in the past 18 months. That would make a nonsense of the Obama administration’s contention that Iran had frozen its enrichment operations for the duration of the negotiations. Consequently, there are fears in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that Mr Obama is more interested in reaching an accommodation with reformists in Iran than in standing by America’s traditional allies in the Arab world.

Prince Mohammed, who is a senior member of the Saudi ruling family, insists the negotiations must produce serious commitments from Iran not to produce nuclear weapons. “We hope we receive the assurances that guarantee Iran will not pursue this kind of weapon,” he said. “But if this does not happen, then all options will be on the table for Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s nuclear programme poses a direct threat to the entire region and constitutes a major source and incentive for nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, including Israel.”

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. Any failure by Iran to provide the necessary safeguards by the end of this month could see Riyadh activate that deal, thereby enabling Saudi Arabia to become the Arab world’s first nuclear power. And if that were to happen, then many other regional powers, such as Egypt and Turkey, would also attempt to follow suit – a nuclear arms race in the world’s most unstable region.

Prince Mohammed’s comments should serve as a warning to Mr Obama as he briefs other G7 leaders on the Iran talks at this week’s summit in Germany.

From Saudi Arabia’s perspective, though, Prince Mohammed believes Riyadh has every right to be alarmed at the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, particularly in the light of its involvement in supporting the Houthis to overthrow Yemen’s government. “The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, set about taking over Sanaa and then attempting to takeover Aden,” he said. “The reason air strikes became necessary was to reverse that advance and keep the road open for a political solution.
“All the evidence supports the fact that Iran is using the Houthis as warring agents for them to transform Yemen into a springboard for the delusional hegemonic designs in the Arab world.”
He played down suggestions that, equipped with its new military might, his country had its own plans for regional domination. “Saudi Arabia does not have the same ambitions for the region as others do,” he said in a reference to Iran. “All we care for is the preservation of our stability and security, and that of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

The ambassador also expressed his concern about suggestions that Britain was playing a less prominent role in world affairs. Last week Ashton Carter, the US defence secretary, warned against what he called Britain’s “disengagement” from world affairs in the wake of the recent defence cuts.
Prince Mohammed warned that this could have negative repercussions, particularly in the Middle East. “The perception that Britain is withdrawing from the international stage could have a negative impact,” he said. “Britain has played a historical role in the region due to its colonial past. It knows the Arab world very well and it can still have a pivotal positive role. To see a country like Britain no longer playing a central role in the region will have ramifications that are not positive.”

The Canadian Horn Blocks Nuclear Ban (Dan 7:7)

  

Canada helps block UN anti-nukes plan
May 25, 2015

OTTAWA – Israel has expressed its gratitude to Canada for helping to block a major international plan towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Elsewhere, however, there was widespread international disappointment that Canada and Britain supported the United States in opposing the document at the United Nations review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The document called on the UN to hold a disarmament conference on the Middle East by 2016. Such a conference could have forced Israel to publicly acknowledge that it is a nuclear power, something the Jewish state has never done.

Adopting the document would have required a consensus, but since none was reached, that means nuclear disarmament efforts have been blocked until 2020.

In a weekend phone call, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Stephen Harper for what he called Canada’s principled stand, Harper’s office in Ottawa said in a statement.

“Prime Minister Harper reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation, including within the framework of the NPT,” the statement said.

“He also stressed Canada’s belief that a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone can only be truly effective if all countries in the Middle East participate freely and constructively in its establishment.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said Canada’s decision “sends a strong message about Canada’s resolve not to compromise the integrity of a treaty to which we remain fully and deeply committed.”

But there was widespread opposition and disappointment expressed by several countries that addressed the conference, which wrapped Friday after four weeks of meetings.

Austria, which spoke on behalf of 49 countries, said the result spoke to the wide divide over what nuclear disarmament should mean. “There is a realty gap, a credibility gap, a confidence gap and a moral gap.”

The delegate to South Africa added: “There is a sense in which the NPT has degenerated into minority rule similar to what we had in South Africa under apartheid — the will of the few will prevail regardless of whether it makes moral sense.”

It’s disappointing that Canada helped scuttle the four weeks of negotiations that led up to Friday’s result, said Beatrice Fihn, spokeswoman for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of 400 non-governmental organizations in 95 countries.

“Three countries take their cue from a non-state party — Israel isn’t even part of the treaty — and thereby have this final say,” Fihn said.

But former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy supported the Conservative decision, saying that dragging the Middle East issue into the talks was a ploy by some countries to embarrass Israel.

“There was a distinct effort, whether it was by Egypt or others, to present a package that they knew certain countries — including our own — would not agree with,” Axworthy said in an interview.

“I wish there had been more countries saying so, with some of the NGOs so quick to condemn, because the reality is if you’re going to do diplomacy it has to be feasible and realistic.”

The United States accused Egypt and other countries of trying to “cynically manipulate” the review process.

Axworthy said the NPT conference missed a chance to deal with serious nuclear proliferation issues, including Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

“The way in which the ongoing Middle East-Israeli-Palestinian issue was introduced into the package was clearly designed to be disruptive.”

But New Democrat foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar accused the government of playing the role of international spoiler.

“When it comes to the Middle East, many have said this is the most dangerous place in the world to have nuclear weapons,” said Dewar.

“If we can get other countries to abide by nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, then that can advance the cause globally.”

By Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

The Nuclear House of Saud (Dan 7:7)

  

Nuclear Saudi Arabia: Rising ambitions of the House of Saud

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.

Get short URL Published time: May 29, 2015 10:51

Saudi Arabia’s seemingly ever-expanding ambitions threaten now to draw the region and the world
closer to the edge of a dangerous precipice as it seeks to buy out Pakistan’s nuclear power.

Just as Iran and the P5+1 are set to finalize a tentative nuclear deal by June’s end, offering the world a much-needed respite from talks of war and aggravated political tensions, Saudi Arabia is stretching its nuclear ambitions.

The most violent, reactionary and arguably most oppressive regime, in not just the region but the world, is now has ambitions to rise to a nuclear power. It is actually much worse than that – the very state which interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, has inspired an entire generation of radical wannabe jihadists is vying for access to nuclear weapons.

If Iran’s alleged nuclear race was mainly the expression of western political posturing – even Mossad agreed that both Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s concerns have been largely over-hyped and over-played – Riyadh’s ambition is no laughing matter, especially when the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leadership boasted a similar desire.

Although the kingdom has yet to officially verbalize its nuclear intentions, enough breadcrumbs have been left in the media to spell the writing on the wall. In true PR fashion, Saudi Arabia has planted a sufficient amount of stories on its “covert” nuclear program and military aspirations in the press to prove how serious its officials are about conditioning public opinion and driving the narrative.

The main axis of Riyadh’s campaign has been and will be to justify going nuclear on the basis that Iran stands a regional threat – however unfounded and ludicrous this logic may be, wars have been fought over less sophisticated allegations. We’re still looking for those weapons of mass destruction.

Beyond this clever media stunt, one truth remains – unless stopped Saudi Arabia will become the next world nuclear power, joining Israel (believed to possess nukes) in this potentially-apocalyptic arm race.

Rumors of a forthcoming Saudi nuclear race first surfaced in November 2013 in a report by Mark Urban for the BBC. The article read, “Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.”

If developing a nuclear arsenal remains a complicated and time consuming endeavor, notwithstanding the technological prowess that entails, leeching on another power’s capability – Pakistan in this case – could prove as simple as wiring money to an offshore account. What Saudi Arabia lacks, it will buy. There is literally nothing Al-Saud’s petrodollars cannot acquire: from political support to moral blank checks, the kingdom moves immune to all criticism and legal hindrance, cloaked under America’s exceptionalism.

After Western powers took so much pain in demonizing Iran and its leadership, painting the Islamic Republic as a devilish warmonger, a destroyer of world which only seeks to indoctrinate the Middle East, how will Washington and Europe’s capitals react to a nuclear Riyadh? They simply won’t!

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia remains a useful and ever so rich western ally, and therefore it will be allowed the means of its ambitions. Whatever rumors and reports are circulating today have long been known to the intelligence community. The US actually anticipated Riyadh’s move long before Iran’s own program became such a contentious matter.

For almost a decade now, the Saudis have more and more openly staked their claim, pushing their pawns across the chess game without bothering to cover their tracks.

In 2007, the US mission in Riyadh noted they were being asked questions by Pakistani diplomats about US knowledge of “Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation.”  By 2012, Saudi officials went to the Times warning, “it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom.”

From that point on, Riyadh has worked toward that goal, using Iran as both an excuse and an alibi.

Reportedly, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister and deputy crown prince, is currently visiting Pakistan to iron out the details of this covert nuclear deal. In hindsight, Yemen’s war proves a perfect and all too suspiciously timely distraction.

And though a Saudi Defense Ministry official dismissed in comments to CNN on May 19 that the kingdom intends to purchase Pakistan A-bombs, experts like Stephen Lendman, a veteran political analyst and acclaimed author are not biting.

Looking at developments in the region, Saudi Arabia’s nuclear aspirations are not a figment of the imagination, but rather an affirmation of the kingdom’s new hawkish stance vis a vis foreign policy. Unlike his predecessor, King Abdullah ibn Saud, King Salman ibn Saud is no longer waiting for Washington to call the shots – it is drawing its ally in.

If the last ‘missed’ meeting at Camp David is anything to go by, it appears rather evident that Salman’s snub was more than just a political play; it could prelude deeper ideological divergences, especially where foreign policy is concerned. Syria remains a sour point the kingdom has yet to get over.

Where it could not intervene militarily as it wished against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Saudi Arabia might seek to compensate vis a vis Iran by acquiring the weapon of all weapons.

In any case and whatever rationale Riyadh is following, a nuclear arm race in the Middle East can only end in more bloodshed and violence, especially when the IS army is planning its second expansionist wave.

Suspicious minds would even argue that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear timing oddly overlaps with IS’ allegations that it’s now “infinitely” closer to buying a nuclear weapon. In an article titled ‘The Perfect Storm’, in the latest issue of ISIS’ monthly English propaganda magazine, Dabiq, the terror group presents the idea that IS could purchase nuclear weapons from corrupt Pakistani officials, by way of militants in Islamic State’s affiliated Pakistani militia group.

Saudi Arabia Nukes: Not If, But When (Dan 7)


Addressing the Saudi Nuclear Option

May 26, 2015
By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Correspondent for In Homeland Security

As if the stakes weren’t high enough in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia put out a feeler in the media regarding its desire to obtain nuclear weapons from Pakistan. This is in response of Iran’s long ambitions for nuclear weapons, the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia’s deep-rooted discontent and distrust of both the talks and Iranian sincerity of stalling or abandoning those efforts.
From the Saudi perspective, Tehran is building a nuclear weapon in a secret facility that is not and will not be on the map for inspections. They are also using the talks to lift the sanctions. Lastly, they are wreaking havoc in the Middle East and to Riyadh, Iran is worse than ISIS.

Since 2009, the Saudis have in various ways warned that if Iran crosses the line, they had access to nuclear missiles through a variety of sources. Importantly, Saudi Arabia has its own red-line threshold for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At the time, these often off-the-wall comments were good enough for them to warn Tehran and later discourage them that should the P5+1 talks fail or the Iranians employ a strategy of deceit and duplicity, the Saudis will instantly have nuclear weapons from their ally Pakistan.

A number of changes have precipitated in raising the stakes: First, the death of King Abdullah. The new monarch, King Salman, has shown himself to be far more assertive in the region and feels estranged from the West. He saw a more passive Abdullah fail to elicit a firm commitment from the Americans in Syria and on the nuclear issue. With Syria, the Saudis were in position and ready to strike but Washington backed down and accepted a largely successful chemical weapons ban by leaving Assad in power. Iran also got another ingredient that it wanted through prolonged nuclear talks with world leaders (the U.S., the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany). Here, Iran ingratiated itself nicely with the West and is currently seeking to remove economic sanctions by June. To the Saudis it is all just the perfect ploy.

The second major event could be the block of stalemate in Syria, which helps Iran. Assad is still in power and ISIS is thriving with its transnational terrorist enterprise. The stalemate follows major setbacks in Iraq as well, with ISIS gains taking Mosul, Tikrit and Ramadi. Although Tikrit was recently taken back, there is now greater Iranian activity through militias and the politics of both countries. Most importantly, the Saudis have overexaggerated the role of Tehran in the Yemeni civil war and underestimated the workings of the former longtime dictator and ally of Saddam Hussein—President Ali Abdullah Saleh—also the man who engineered the Yemeni democracy protests and then slaughtered hundreds of them.

Saleh was eventually forced to relinquish power to his Vice President at the pressure and behest of the Saudis, his people and other international players. The Houthi takeover was a shock in that it went from protest to coup but the Saudi-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was weakened by a loss of the strongman, continuous war on two fronts between Shia Houthi and al-Qaida in the South, a poor economy, rampant abuse, corruption and ethno-religious discrimination. The Saudis want to reinstall Hadi, the right-hand man of the butcher, President Saleh. So it is no great wonder the Houthis wanted him out too and placed him under house arrest; however the Houthis have proven to be worse for stability and are tearing the country apart with the help of Saudi-led air raids.

The third major break for Riyadh was the feeling of necessity and last resort to strategically steer the Middle East military coalition away from U.S. leadership. GCC Sunni states began testing the waters for airstrikes of their own even before Yemen’s government fell. Close Saudi Arabian partner, the United Arab Emirates conducted covert airstrikes with Egypt in Libya last August, attacking the violent extremists there. But the Sunni military coalition came to its peak in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia led 11 Sunni majority states in heavy and sustained airstrikes in Yemen since late March of this year. This was just after the U.S. had disengaged itself diplomatically from Sana’a, through anther exodus following its embassy in Libya. The U.S. did not offer or participate in the attacks and gave the impression that it was caught unaware; deciding instead to supply the Saudis with intelligence.

Across the map, Riyadh is redirecting its efforts from ISIS to Iran. For Iraq, the U.S. supplied and trained national army is cutting and running from the enemy and crumbling before the world’s eye. In its place is more control from Iran and more Iranian backed militias. For Syria, Iran still holds sway. The Saudis have sided with Turkey in order to remove President Bashar al Assad from power.
Riyadh is no longer waiting for Washington but is willing to draw its ‘partner’ into the messy fog of regionwide political instability. The meeting that should have seen two heads of state, the King and the president, together, has been a blatant rebuke to the White House from Riyadh; without love. They plan to send the heir to the throne and defense minister to the president’s summit. The U.S.-Sunni alliance has fallen beyond repair.

Anything that Riyadh demands now, especially in their current state of mind, would not be in the interest of the U.S. This does not mean need to entail a future relationship of abandonment but caution and constraint; especially in their present military operations; such as cluster bombing. Washington still has a deal to close with Iran on nuclear weapons that will, in spite of assurances by the president mid-May that the U.S. would use force to defend Saudi Arabia if attacked, derail any Saudi perceptions of trustworthiness and commitment. As the Sunni states distant themselves from the West, Iran edges closer, diplomatically.

As far as nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the U.S. must partner with the U.N. and demand a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East. They must act as a superpower as well as a dominion of international powers and develop a hasty trust with Saudi Arabia and Iran. The U.N. is holding talks May 28 in regard to Yemen but the date could not get here soon enough and the U.S. and its allies have a lot of work to do to get the Saudis and Iranians to the table before then.

Shadowing the Iranian cargo ship with military escorts using the Iwo Jima is a responsible precaution but U.S. defense officials have warned that the Iranians could have humanitarian supplies or international observers aboard, waiting to pin an attempted search and seizure or confrontation at sea unnecessarily. On the other hand, this could also be a weapons resupply. The U.S. has encouraged Iran to port humanitarian supplies at the U.N. station in Djibouti. Iran has given mixed signals, first stating publically that they intend to port in Yemen ignoring and bypassing the U.N. and then through their state run news deciding to go to Djibouti. Either way, it is a bad development for the U.S. more than the Saudi-coalition, who are already involved directly in the conflict.

Best Political Options for the U.S.: Stay out of it militarily.

Immediately demand, press and hold talks in the U.N. between the Sunni GCC states and Iran to diplomatically rebalance over the crisis in Yemen and what is presently seeing a military/paramilitary rebalancing between states and proxies in regional cold war context.

The U.S. must kick-start an international diplomatic effort with key global players. Getting at them at the table will be the hard part. Once there, both states should hash out a formal truce with terms that outline and discourage negative and hostile actions or at the very least table the nuclear cross talk.
Washington must demand that neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear weapon development or procurement programs with the backing of the international community.

Other states need to speak out but these two regional players need Russia, China and Europe on their backs diplomatically too as well as the other Middle Eastern states involved.

Note: The opinions and comments stated in the preceding article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Homeland Security, do not represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.

Why North Korea is not a horn of prophecy (Dan 8:8)

  

North Korea says nukes defensive in nature
Published: 2015-05-24 11:38

North Korea defended its possession of nuclear weapons Sunday, saying it is “a means to protect peace and security in the region, not an object of contention.”

Earlier this week, Pyongyang claimed it has developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile, further escalating tensions with Seoul.

“The North’s nuclear weapons can never be an object of accusations as it is a means to protect the dignity and sovereignty of the nation,” an unnamed spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea was quoted as saying by the North’s state media.

“South Korea should at least recognize that the treasured nuclear sword of North Korea can never be dismantled.”

The statement came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hinted at the possible deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which can shoot down ballistic missiles at a higher altitude, in South Korea.

The nuclear deterrence of the DPRK has not posed any threat to anybody but has performed the most just and responsible mission to check the U.S. wild ambition for hegemony on the forefront and preserve regional peace and stability,” the spokesman was also quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The spokesman warned South Korea to “stop acting recklessly” and vowed “catastrophic consequences” should it continue to take issue with the North’s nuclear weapons.
The two Koreas are technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)