Pakistan's bomb and Saudi Arabia

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, May 13, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan's bomb and Saudi Arabia


    Western intelligence officials believe that Pakistan has pledged to provide nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia in a Middle East crisis, but would Islamabad keep its end of the bargain?

    The great anxiety underpinning this month's NPT talks in New York, and the deepening crisis over Iranian nuclear aspirations, is the fear that if and when Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, it would trigger an arms race across the Middle East. Israel already has an arsenal of course, but over a dozen other countries in the region have recently announced plans to pursue or explore civilian nuclear energy programmes, in what is seen as a hedge against future threats. But which states, if any, would be prepared to go the whole way?

    The Centre for European Studies and the German Marshall Fund of the United States has just held a small conference in Brussels called "Transatlantic test: What should the West do with Iran?" There were a bunch of Nato types there and some diplomats from Europe and the Middle East, and some very interesting talk. What struck me were the relatively sanguine views on the knock-on effect of Iran going nuclear (or achieving break-out capacity).

    Putting it briefly: Turkey would not jeopardise the Nato umbrella by going nuclear unilaterally. Egypt has considered its options and decided it cannot afford to go nuclear and risk losing its annual US grant. The biggest worry is Saudi Arabia, which cannot rely on a US nuclear umbrella for reasons of domestic and regional politics.

    According to western intelligence sources (the meeting was under Chatham House rules so I am not allowed to be more specific) the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of the Pakistani nuclear programme, and in return has the option to buy a small nuclear arsenal ('five to six warheads) off the shelf if things got tough in the neighbourhood.

    There has been much reporting about this alleged deal over recent years, notably by The Guardian back in 2003, when Ewen MacAskill and Ian Traynor wrote about a Saudi strategic review to weigh the kingdom's nuclear options.

    A report by Mark Fitzpatrick at the IISS in 2008 on Nuclear Programmes in the Middle East, found the Guardian article was "an accurate representation of what had emerged from the Saudi side during discussions" at a symposium in Britain attended by several members of the Saudi royal family.

    The Saudis and the Pakistanis have consistently denied any such deal, but what I heard in Brussels was billed by an official as being from intelligence sources. Whether or not anything has been signed, however, there are real questions on whether Pakistan would deliver when it came to the crunch.

    There is a third partner in the relationship, the US, who might have something to say about it and the means to exert pressure to make sure it did not happen. Still, it remains one of the more likely dominoes to fall in a worst-case scenario.

    Another interesting point to come out of the Brussels meeting was how difficult it is inside Nato to make policy or even to talk about policy towards Iran, because Turkey will not allow it. That makes it a bit awkward when it comes to framing the alliance's New Strategic Concept later this year.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
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  3. truthfull

    truthfull Regular Member

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    hello ajtr i request you to shed light on economic policies of pre 1990 rulers which were disastrous.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    How Pakistan's A.Q. Khan helped spread nuclear terrorism



    "Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America's Enemies" by David Albright; Free Press (304 pages, $27)

    Nuclear weapons, which largely faded from front pages after the Cold War, are back in the news. President Obama endorsed a new national security strategy, and earlier this year he signed an ambitious arms control treaty with Russia, further easing fears of global Armageddon. But Obama also led an unprecedented summit of world leaders to warn of an increasingly urgent threat - nuclear terrorism.

    Much of this perilous state of affairs can be traced to the villainous deeds of Abdul Qadeer Khan. A.Q. Khan, as he is known, is the self-described father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb and the self-confessed mastermind of a criminal network that seemingly sold nuclear weapons technology like it was aluminum siding. The proof: Nearly every nation that has tried to build or obtain a nuclear device in the last 30 years has relied on Khan's black market enterprise.

    Outside the CIA and its sister services overseas, probably no one has investigated Khan's smuggling network as thoroughly as David Albright. His "Peddling Peril" is the most authoritative account we are likely to see of how a Pakistani metallurgist with monstrous ambition used front companies, forged documents and legal loopholes to create a nuclear Wal-Mart, or what Albright calls "Bomb Inc." Dr. Strangelove couldn't have said it better.

    For years, government officials downplayed or ignored Khan's illicit trade as industrial spying, or violations of export control laws, rather than as nuclear espionage on behalf of a foreign power. Security breaches were repeatedly concealed lest they jeopardize other diplomatic priorities or corporate profit margins. It is a terrifying tale, not least because the failure to prosecute or imprison most of Khan's associates means the world's most dangerous business may still be thriving.

    Other books have sketched Khan's story, but Albright mines previously unavailable documents, and he interviews key players for new details. He chronicles how Khan stole classified blueprints from a European consortium to jumpstart Pakistan's uranium enrichment program in the mid-1970s and then did what no Western scientist considered remotely possible - he built an atomic bomb in Pakistan by secretly buying and assembling component parts from abroad.

    In the 1980s, Khan again broke new ground: He began selling complete nuclear factories and the know-how to construct bombs, something only governments had done before. He assembled a team of unscrupulous German, South African and Swiss businessmen to help peddle these resources to dictatorial regimes in Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Libya.

    Khan's drawings and documentation for Libya's centrifuge plant were so detailed they contained instructions on where to install toilet paper holders in the bathrooms. He also supplied Iran with critical components for a then-secret uranium enrichment program that still bedevils the international community. "Without Khan's assistance," Albright writes, "Iran's gas centrifuge program would pose little threat to the region or the United States today."

    Khan has claimed patriotism and Muslim solidarity as his motive, but he and his cohorts raked in hundreds of millions of dollars. Vital supplies, purchased from the United States and Europe, were routed through a maze of businesses and third-party cutouts in Malaysia, Dubai, Turkey and elsewhere to avoid suspicion. "They could not outmaneuver us, as we remained a step ahead always," Khan boasted on Pakistani TV last year.

    Although the CIA and British intelligence investigated Khan from at least 1978, it took them nearly three decades to take him down, an intelligence failure that haunts us today. The evidence suggests willful blindness in successive U.S. administrations more concerned about using Pakistan as a Cold War proxy against the Soviet Union than on stopping this nuclear Johnny Appleseed.

    It's still unclear how much Pakistani leaders authorized Khan's freebooting (he frequently used Pakistani Air Force planes to ferry his supplies) and, more important, whether his customers included al-Qaida or its murderous offshoots. The Pakistani government has refused to let foreign intelligence or U.N. experts interview Khan since he was placed under house arrest in 2004.

    Albright is a unique figure in Washington, a nuclear proliferation expert who flourishes in the interstices between intelligence and journalism. He founded and heads the Institute for Science and International Security, a one-man think tank for all practical purposes. He regularly makes news by relying on commercial satellite photos, personal ties to U.S. policy makers and U.N. nuclear inspectors (Albright served with U.N. teams in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War) and a deep grasp of nuclear science. Like many journalists, I called him regularly when I reported on nuclear proliferation.

    In September 2007, for example, Israeli jets bombed a nondescript building in the Syrian desert. Neither government, nor the George W. Bush administration, initially acknowledged the raid's purpose. But Albright's institute used commercial satellite imagery to determine that the target appeared to house a nuclear reactor built with technology from North Korea. For six months, Albright's analysis was the only independent assessment. Finally, in April 2008, the CIA publicly concurred.

    Albright is a better investigator than writer, and his dry prose sometimes reads like a grand jury indictment involving export licenses and shipping manifests. But this is also a valuable book: The reader's outrage mounts as clues emerge, the danger spreads and government officials look the other way. It's clear what drives Albright: America must vastly improve its ability to prevent nuclear smuggling and, ultimately, nuclear terrorism. After reading "Peddling Peril," it drives my fears too.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Its not only pre 1990s' but if you look at the economic policies of pakistan it always survived on foreign aid be it Ayub khan, yayah khan, zia or musharaff.All millitary dictator got unaccounted military and economic aid so you see pakistan progressing in cook books of generals only reason they serve usa's interest in the reason....like during ayub khan who can forget famous U2(?) incident when usa spy plane flew over USSR from its Peshawar base got shot down by russian.I dont know if this was the main reason (if russians threatened pakistanis of consequences) of ayub khan immediately shutting down Peshawar base.(EMO can shed more light on it,,,i need citation for it what im saying is on hearsay,,,,may be i'm wrong too). then again after 1971 pakistan gone broke coz civiilian govt of zulfikar bhutto came to power and usa stopped granting aid...Afghan war was blessing for zia and with that usa aid returned to pakistan untill 1990 when ussr broke and usa pulled out of afghan war and stopped giving aid again and impossed presseler amendment for the arms transfer.The F-16 pak is getting now are actually those it was planning to buy from usa in early 1990s and it paid for it then.but again pakistan gone broke coz of american pull out and story repeated again after 9/11 with usa return into afghan theater aids and arms started flowing....so wat i see is most of the economic progress wat pakistan shows is actually the money it gets from usa and saudis and others in terms of free oil .
     

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