Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Other "N" Word: Nukes

Left: Nuclear mushroom_cloud

Despite all the attention given to Iran's nuclear program, the underside of that discourse is Israel's nuclear weapons. Israel's nuclear proliferation usually, receives scant attention in diplomatic circles and the media. The very mention of Israel's nuclear weapons functions in a sphere of unconscionable transgression guarded by a geo-political correctness, a tacit self-rectifying concept preventing any utterance, which effectively, serves as the other "N" word.

For quite some time now, Washington officials have been pressuring the IAEA to find Iran's nuclear power program in "material breach" of its treaty obligations not to develop nuclear weapons.

The rubric of the UN facilitated the passing of UN Security Council resolution 1696 (2006), under Chapter VII, by a vote of 14 in favor to 1 against (Qatar), to express the convictions of the "international community" that suspension, as well as full, verified Iranian compliance with the IAEA Board of Governor’s requirements, would contribute to a diplomatic, negotiated solution that guaranteed Iran’s nuclear programme was for exclusively peaceful purposes. Instead of concentrating on fathom Iranian nukes, which is decades away from acquiring nuclear weapons, even if it chose that path, a similar resolution on Israel's existing nuclear arsenal would actually, be revolutionary in establishing peace, stability and security in the Middle East.

Iran is a Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signatory and there is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the NPT affords signatories the use of civilian nuclear energy including enrichment for civic purposes. Whereas, Israel has never signed the NPT and possesses around 400 various types of nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), in its arsenal and is not amenable to any regulations.

The tough talk against Iran has inadvertently put on the table a program that no one in Washington wants to discuss openly — Israel's nuclear weapons program.

In fact, Middle East nuclear weapons programs began as a response to Israel's development of nuclear weapons. That program started in the late 1940s and had secretly yielded many bombs by the 1967 war. It is the existence of the Israeli nuclear weapons that have been driving nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East.

Left: Cloud blast from nuclear bomb

A draft resolution, which sought to bring to light and label Israel's nuclear capabilities a threat and call upon Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was blocked from going to a vote by Israel and its allies during the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), annual meeting in Vienna.

The UN nuclear watchdog agency instead, adopted a separate, non-binding resolution calling on all Middle Eastern nations to accept IAEA safeguards and take steps toward the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone. Israel and the United States were the only two countries that voted against it. Three countries abstained.
The measure calling Israel's program a threat, which was cosponsored by Iran, was kept from going to a vote after 45 nations backed a no-action motion by the Canadian delegate, effectively adjourning the debate.
Among those supporting the effort to block the vote were the United States, Israel, France, Germany and Britain. Those abstaining included China, Russia and Nigeria, among others.
Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, stated "Iran ... has always called for establishing a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. ... It is of profound regret that this issue is trapped in a vicious cycle."
2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Director General of the IAEA, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, introduced a resolution in the UN proposing the monitoring of all nuclear fission and guaranteeing that non-nuclear weapons states would be able to obtain adequate supplies for their nonmilitary usage of enriched plutonium.

One nation has publicly accepted ElBaradei’s proposal, that country is Iran.

An overwhelming silence has shrouded Israel's nuclear arsenal for 40 years. Israel neither confirms nor denies its nuclear status, known as "nuclear opacity," but is the only nation in the region with nuclear weapons. Israel continues to refuse IAEA controls on its nuclear activities.
Israel's ambassador to the IAEA said efforts to bring security to the Middle East should be focused on peace efforts, not necessarily arms control. "The fundamental goal in the Middle East, as in other regions, is obtaining regional peace, security and stability, not arms control per se," Israel Michaeli said.
The draft resolution was submitted earlier last week by 15 nations: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Left: Atomic Bomb Blast from artillery shells

Nuclear domino instead of Democratic dominoes

Instead of establishing peace, stability and security in the Middle East, Israel's nuclear arsenal has in effect masked transparency and contributed to sentient uncertainty and a seeming necessity of proliferation in the region. In the past, Libya and Iraq have both had their nuclear facilities bombed in attempts to control the evident ramifications of the Israeli nuclear threat as experienced by its neighbors.

Egypt to Start building nuclear power plants

Gamal Mubarak, who is slated to follow Hosni Mubarak, his father and President of Egypt, recently, announced Egypt would revive plans for a nuclear program that was publicly shelved in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. The plan calls for a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant to be built at El-Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast. The proposed program is described by Gamal Mubarak as a civilian nuclear regime.

In February 2005, the IAEA disclosed that it was investigating Egypt's nuclear activities. It concluded that Egypt had conducted atomic research for as long as four decades, but that the research did not aim to develop nuclear weapons and did not include uranium enrichment. The UN nuclear watchdog was looking into rumors that Egypt had aimed to develop an independent nuclear fuel cycle at its two research reactors.

Egypt has signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and has long called for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

Strategic omissions

Israel is never mentioned in semiannual reports even though, the US Congress requires the intelligence agencies to prepare on "the acquisition by foreign countries during the preceding six months of dual-use and other technology useful for the development or production of weapons of mass destruction."

The agencies provide their assessment of programs in Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan and others, but Israel (and Egypt) are omitted. This pattern is repeated across the board.

For example, the 2003 report on the ballistic and cruise missile threat from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center lists 18 nations with missiles, including US allies Bulgaria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Egypt — but not Israel.

Yet, Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and an array of medium-range missiles that could deliver them.

Selective Ignorance - Of course, the United States does not see Israel as a threat — but other nations in the region do. That is the whole point.

By ignoring Israel's WMD programs in order to protect Israel and perceived geopolitical interests, the US may actually, be increasing their danger. The inherent double standard of this policy is counterproductive because of US loyalty to Israel, while also, managing important relations with others in region with less fidelity. This uneven policy ultimately, works against US national and strategic interests in the Middle East and elsewhere therefore, leaving the region enmeshed in a perpetual web of instability and conflict.

Nevertheless, repeated UN resolutions calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons have been undermined by the US, Israel and their allies.

The US has developed a proliferation policy that attempts to neutralize rogue or "axis of evil" regimes seeking these deadly arsenals while tolerating, even encouraging, their possession by States deemed responsible.

The aiding and abetting of not only Israel, but also, Pakistan and India, and promising to give India advanced nuclear technology, when all three have nuclear weapons while, none are NPT signatories only confound the issue in a dynamic of arbitrary preferential treatment. The policy becomes evidently, skewed when one considers States like Brazil and EU nations that maintain nuclear facilities enriching their own uranium, but do not meet the ire of the "international community."

This policy can work piecemeal, as in Iraq and Libya, but cannot systematically, work because the proliferation impetus transcends particular regimes. The problem of nuclear proliferation has its best chance of successful resolution in a just, fair and balanced global policy that treats all actors equally - a dynamic lacking the current nepotistic tendencies. The transparency involved in South African nuclear disarmament, under the auspices of the IAEA, represents a clearer policy for peace, stability and security.

Proliferation issues remain in the West's vision of a "new Middle East"

Even if a prophetic democratic transformation sweeps the Middle East, a new Iraq and a new Iran would still desire nuclear weapons as long as Israel has them. This drive simmers and becomes more prevalent when nuclear weapons have proven to be the proven means of maintaining sovereignty and preventing regime change - a la North Korea.

The Iranian nuclear program began under the Shah in 1958, with the first US-supplied reactor going online in 1967. The program will likely continue under future governments unless fundamental regional dynamics are altered.

Prevention over proliferation

Lost in the cycle of Israeli-Arab wars including surgical strikes on Iraq, Palestinian Occupied Territories violence and nearly 30 years of overt invasions into Lebanon is the fact that Israel has never been more secure from external threats. Israeli conventional forces can easily defeat any conceivable combination of Arab armies. One of its key regional opponents Iraq has not been militarily capable to challenge Israel's hegemony since its military was destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War.

Syria's forces has been maneuvered out of Lebanon, the Taliban has been removed from power in Afghanistan and there is no longer a Soviet Union to arm and encourage Arab regimes hostile to Israeli dominance. Furthermore, Israel enjoys the friendship, albeit at times with stealth, with the majority of Arab and Muslim States, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Moreover, there is now a substantial US naval, air and ground force in the region.

Therefore, Israel has less need of nuclear weapons now then at any time in its history. Unfortunately, the asserted necessity of an Israeli nuclear arsenal is a non sequitur to regional peace. As long as Israel's nuclear weapons point outward targeting cities around the Middle East, there will be a drive to obtain a balance to this threat - only capacity, resources and will stand in the way. Israel's maintenance of nuclear weapons is illogical and absurd in the advance of peace, stability and security in the Middle East because it has a clear intent in preventing any other regional power from getting the one weapon that could offset its conventional superiority and hegemonic designs.

Opportunity for change and new directives

Arab and Muslim nations now believe that their suspicions of US regional goals in tandem with Israel have been verified - if they were not forwarned - by the failure to turn up any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq while, the continued threat to remove other regional governments looms emimently. This fearful environment breeds clandestine efforts by many States who find themselves without the sanction or umbrella of US protection.

Nuclear bombs cloaked in the closet

Instead of alleviating these threats and suspicions, the United States wrongly, adopts a preferential policy that views Israeli non-conventional weapons in the Middle East as a means to regional peace, stability and security.

Everyone already whispers about Israel's dirty little secret in the closet. Bringing it out into the open and putting it on the negotiating table as part of a regional deal may be the only way to prevent others from building their own nuclear bombs under the table. The Israeli "N" word must not remain in a mantra of geo-political correctness.

In the face of current diffusion of technology, ever so prevalent in the region, this is precisely the time to intensify efforts to create a zone free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East.

The Western powers have invariably, allowed undeclared possession of nuclear weapons in Israel to thrive under a system of exaggerated security threats. Israel has willfully, continued to foster conflict with the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states often, claiming that its existence is not recognized and the aim is to destroy it when in fact Israel itself poses the threat to the region and is not in any existential danger. There are ample examples of Israeli false flag operations or provocations, which exacerbate tensions in the region that are blamed on its neighbors.



Above: Map of Israeli Nuclear weapons related facilities

The roots of the Israeli "N" word - not to be mentioned in civic circles
Israel began its search for nuclear weapons at the inception of the state in 1948. As compensation for Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, France provided nuclear expertise and constructed a reactor complex for Israel at Dimona capable of large-scale plutonium production and reprocessing. The French nuclear weapons program in effect became Israeli because of mutual research and development activities.

The United States discovered the facility by 1958 and it was a subject of continual discussions between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers. Israel used delay and deception to at first keep the US at bay, and later used the nuclear option as a bargaining chip for a consistent American conventional arms supply. After French disengagement in the early 1960s, Israel progressed on its own and collaborated with South Africa, including several covert operations, to project completion.

Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices. By the 1973 Yom Kippur War Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered using them. The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons.
Israel has probably, conducted several nuclear bomb tests. They have continued to modernize and vertically proliferate and are now one of the world's larger nuclear powers in possession of nuclear land mines and mini-nukes. Israel also possesses ballistic missiles, submarines and bombers capable of reaching all corners of the globe. It also has cruise missiles and artillery shells with a range of 45 miles. A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal is its production of neutron bombs, miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation - in essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.

Below: Estimates of the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal


Using “bomb in the basement” nuclear opacity, Israel has been able to use its arsenal as a deterrent to the Arab world while not 'technically,' violating American nonproliferation requirements. This of course involves a "leap of faith" precisely, because the US is well aware of the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal.
Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman who died a few years ago said “the nuclear issue is gaining momentum [and the] next war will not be conventional."
Can we continue to trust nuclear weapons in the hands of Israelis who shoot kids dead in cold blood and who recently, saturated southern Lebanon with over a million cluster bomb bomblets and hundreds of thousands of landmines - in effect preventing the return of some 200,000 Lebanese to their homes?

Whereas Iran's nuclear reactor that the US and Israel may opt to destroy was designed for generating power; Israel's nuclear reactor was by purpose, configured for nuclear weapons production.

The rest of the middle east will certainly, breathe a sigh of relief once extricated under the permanent threat of being holocaustic victims of Israeli nuclear weapons, if and when nuclear weapons are seen for the potential woe they represent in the hands of any nation.

One of the processes in preparing mined uranium for use in a power station is to separate the highly radioactive U235 (used for fuel rods) from the U238. The U238 still containing a small amount of U235 (Depleted Uranium) is a highly toxic waste product from the process. So, because of its high density and spontaneous combustion on impact military researchers thought it would be ideal for military application as highly penetrating projectiles. Voila, a waste product that was very expensive to dispose now, becomes a highly profitable, but deadly resource. The toxic waste is now disposed on the field of battle contaminating the vicinity for thousands of years. More information can be found on DU here. The Middle East has continued to serve as a laboratory for these types of "cutting edge" weaponry.

"We could destroy all European Capitals."
We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force. Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.

Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that this will happen before Israel goes under.
Israel is a nuclear power yet, neither the Dimona nuclear weapons factory, which Mordechai Vanunu exposed, nor Israel's biological and chemical weapons factory in Nes Zion, are open to international inspections. And yet America was busy searching for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Tikrit and Baghdad, Iraq and perhaps soon in Tehran.

This is not the only reason why it would seem to be an imperative that the world finally, does something about Israel's fissile bombs. The correct measure would be to declare the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone - including Israel, of course.

Remember when you are bombarded with all the rant about the dangers of Iran's nuclear technology, that Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty therefore, submits to IAEA supervision and Israel is not. Not only does Israel refuse IAEA oversight, it doesn't officially, acknowledge its possession of hundreds of various classes of nukes. Moreover, where Israel has attacked and continue to threaten its neighbors, Iran has not been belligerent or acted in an offensive manner in over 200 years nor does it occupy the lands of other people like Israel.

Left: Picture of Mordechai Vanunu in custody of Israeli militarily personnel

The power held in the whispers heard around the world of the Israeli "N" word - created in part by Mordechai Vanunu, who chose to tell the globe in 1986 that Israel was the greatest threat to the Middle East, that it had "clandestinely," produced a stockpile of hundreds of nuclear weapons - should be amplified. An act of conscience for which he was punished by craven men with 18 years of incarceration. Mr. Vanunu spent over 11 of those years in complete isolation. He was forced to spend 18 long years in prison and remain under strict travel restrictions and is precluded from having contact with foreigners.

Left: Mordechai Vanunu after release in 2004, met with cheering crowds supportive of peace and Nuclear disarmament

Once everyone has the freedom of thought to shout the Israeli "N" word and overthrow its reign of secrecy, propaganda and political correctness shielding its usage and effective reality the sooner the inherent detriment of the Israeli "N" word will subside and forego its choke hold on discourse - thereby, freeing its stranglehold on both, Israel and its victims in the Middle East and availing an adroit resolution for peace, stability and security in the Middle East.

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