Friday, June 29, 2012
In an interview with the Bureau, Democrat Kucinich voices withering criticism of US clandestine operations in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, saying that America has found itself ‘running a killing bureaucracy’.
Kucinich told the Bureau that he believed the US may in effect be at war with Pakistan, given that its ‘ally’ has demanded that drone strikes on its territory stop.
In recent months Pakistan has loudly protested each drone strike, calling them a ‘total contravention of international law’ which are a ‘violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.’
Kucinich believes that Islamabad’s recent opposition to the strikes marks a new and worrying chapter in US-Pakistani relations.
‘If a nation, which at one time asked for our help, resents our help, then any action that takes place effectively loses the protection of the request for cooperation. And then it becomes a clearly outlined act of aggression. And so, if it is as Pakistan says it is, and if in fact Pakistan has made this request and asked us to stop and we continue this bombing, then we are at war with Pakistan,’ Kucinich told the Bureau.
Pakistan has always denied claims that secret agreements with the US allow Washington to conduct attacks on its soil. More
Monday, June 25, 2012
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.
The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global affairs. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress (the law is currently being blocked by a federal judge). This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.
In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate. More
Regional projections for devastating droughts and floods--which are most meaningful for residents living in South Asia-- are still beyond the reach of current climate models, according to the reviewers' detailed analyses of the present state of research. The authors conclude that in order to make regional projections that can help in disaster mitigation and in adapting to climate change, the following is needed: establishing more consistent rainfall datasets by expanding observations to include, for example, agricultural yield; a better grasp of the complicated thermodynamics over the monsoon region and of the interactions among monsoon rainfall, land-use, aerosols, CO2, and other conditions; and an evaluation in coupled circulation models (which allow feedbacks among variables) of those processes that have been shown in simpler models to affect the monsoon and rainfall. More
Thursday, June 21, 2012
As details of his administration’s global war against terrorists, insurgents, and hostile warlords have become more widely known -- a war that involves a mélange of drone attacks, covert operations, and presidentially selected assassinations -- President Obama has been compared to President George W. Bush in his appetite for military action. “As shown through his stepped-up drone campaign,” Aaron David Miller, an advisor to six secretaries of state, wrote at Foreign Policy, “Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on steroids.”
When it comes to international energy politics, however, it is not Bush but his vice president, Dick Cheney, who has been providing the role model for the president. As recent events have demonstrated, Obama’s energy policies globally bear an eerie likeness to Cheney’s, especially in the way he has engaged in the geopolitics of oil as part of an American global struggle for future dominance among the major powers.
More than any of the other top officials of the Bush administration -- many with oil-company backgrounds -- Cheney focused on the role of energy in global power politics. From 1995 to 2000, he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Halliburton, a major supplier of services to the oil industry. Soon after taking office as vice president he was asked by Bush to devise a new national energy strategy that has largely governed U.S. policy ever since.
Early on, Cheney concluded that the global supply of energy was not growing fast enough to satisfy rising world demand, and that securing control over the world’s remaining oil and natural gas supplies would therefore be an essential task for any state seeking to acquire or retain a paramount position globally. He similarly grasped that a nation’s rise to prominence could be thwarted by being denied access to essential energy supplies. As coal was to the architects of the British empire, oil was for Cheney -- a critical resource over which it would sometimes be necessary to go to war. More
The US policy of using aerial drones to carry out targeted killings presents a major challenge to the system of international law that has endured since the second world war, a United Nations investigator has said.
Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama's attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout long-establishedhuman rights standards.
In his strongest critique so far of drone strikes, Heyns suggested some may even constitute "war crimes". His comments come amid rising international unease over the surge in killings by remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Addressing the conference, which was organised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a second UN rapporteur, Ben Emmerson QC, who monitors counter-terrorism, announced he would be prioritising inquiries into drone strikes.
The London-based barrister said the issue was moving rapidly up the international agenda after China and Russia this week jointly issued a statement at the UN Human Rights Council, backed by other countries, condemning drone attacks.
If the US or any other states responsible for attacks outside recognised war zones did not establish independent investigations into each killing, Emmerson emphasised, then "the UN itself should consider establishing an investigatory body".
Also present was Pakistan's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Zamir Akram, who called for international legal action to halt the "totally counterproductive attacks" by the US in his country.
Heyns, a South African law professor, told the meeting: "Are we to accept major changes to the international legal system which has been in existence since world war two and survived nuclear threats?" More
series of Danger Room articles on counter-terrorism training that sought to portray the world’s billion-plus Muslims as enemies of the United States.
The worst of those courses was taught at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism,” the course began years ago as an inoffensive examination of the roots of violent extremism. But in later years, the class was “modified to adopt a teaching methodology that portrayed Islam almost entirely in a negative way,” said Col. Dave Lapan, a spokesman for Gen. Martin Dempsey, the nation’s top military officer.
The instructor of the course, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, spent weeks arguing that the US was at war with the Islamic faith. In planning for that war’s next phases, Dooley invited his students to use the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, and to target the “civilian population wherever necessary.”
Dooley has now been stripped of his teaching position at the college and formally reprimanded — but not cashiered from the Army. Two civilian officials at the college are being reviewed for possible “administrative or disciplinary action,” according to Lapan. “A second military officer will receive administrative counseling.”
With the exception of Dooley’s class, however, the Pentagon review “confirmed that adequate academic standards for approving course curricula, presentations and selecting qualified guest lecturers were in place” at the rest of the military’s teaching centers, Lapan added.
That brings the inquiry to a close — without resolving several questions about the course. Nor will the officers exposed to the anti-Islam message receive retraining to correct what the military itself considers an inappropriate and offensive instruction.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Pakistani resolve is rooted in the assumption that, if India gains a strong foothold in Afghanistan, then Pakistan’s largest and most resource-rich province, Baluchistan, would be ripe for an India-supported insurgency. Pakistan’s military knows how this game is played — it played it in the Indian state of Jammu and in Kashmir for more than a decade after Soviet troops left Afghanistan in 1989. Baluchistan is as disaffected today as the Kashmir Valley was then.
Pakistani distrust is heightened by events of four decades ago: India severed East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from West Pakistan in their 1971 war. Pakistani leaders will not abide another territorial loss or an extended, foreign-backed insurgency, not when they are feeling so vulnerable. Pakistan has suffered the second-highest number of mass-casualty attacks — behind only Iraq — over the past five years. Pakistan’s military and intelligence services firmly believe that sooner or later, New Delhi will be unable to resist the temptation to dismember their country again. In fact, Pakistan’s dissolution would jeopardize Indian growth and security. And Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities have frozen a territorial status quo, which serves Indian interests. The prospect of a clash would be raised only if spectacular acts of terrorism originate from Pakistan. More
Tehran (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - The establishment of "Al-Qaeda on the southeast coast of the Mediterranean is more dangerous than the threat of nuclear weapons," said Iranian Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, in what amounts to a provocation. He spoke a few days before the Moscow meeting between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council of the US, Russia, China, UK and France, plus Germany).
For months the United Nations and Western nations have denied the presence of al Qaeda operatives in the ranks of the Syrian Free Army; now British Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon have both acknowledged their presence.
News accounts about foreigner fighters trying to cross into Syria from Turkey with Turkish approval have been pouring in on a daily basis. More
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Even now the contest is plagued by uncertainty. As we went to press, the supreme court was due to rule on whether to exclude Mr Shafiq from the run-off because of his role in the old regime. Such a chaotic debut for democracy would tempt ordinary Egyptians to pine for the brutal certitudes of Mr Mubarak’s rule. Better that the vote take place—and that Mr Morsi, the Muslim Brother, become president of the Arab world’s biggest country.
People are nervous of the Muslim Brothers. Many secular-minded Arabs fear that if ever they gained power they would never let go. However slickly the Islamists repackage themselves, a strain of intolerance runs through them, particularly in religion. Egypt’s 8m Christians, about 10% of the population, are understandably anxious—not least because, to get elected, Mr Morsi will need the support not just of the Brothers but also of the Salafists, a far more worrying band of Islamists who hark back to the puritanism of the Prophet Muhammad’s era and who have amassed an alarming degree of popular support in the new Egypt. Already, the Brothers and the Salafists hold a majority in Egypt’s parliament. Should a Muslim Brother become president, the risk is that the Islamists will then ride roughshod over the rest. That is the fear of many secular Egyptians; and Israelis are worried too. More
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120611/DC22177 )
But has the response from industry and nuclear regulators always been adequate? Lessons Learned from "Lessons Learned": The Evolution of Nuclear Power Safety after Accidents and Near-Accidents, a new paper from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, examines the changes in safety procedures and protocols that were or were not implemented after major nuclear disasters. The authors evaluate several less catastrophic accidents and near-mishaps as well, noting that those less serious incidents also offer critical lessons.
The paper provides recommendations for increasing plant safety and security as commercial nuclear power spreads globally. Authors, Michael M. May and Edward D. Blandford stress the need for better communication among nuclear states. "Mechanisms to facilitate and, where needed, enforce mutual learning have not always been adequate," they write. "Information-sharing, import/export agreements based on safety standards, agreements to facilitate cooperation among regulatory authorities, and the participation of financial interests such as investors and insurers all have a role to play in improving mutual learning among different states."
This paper, published as part of the American Academy's Global Nuclear Future (GNF) Initiative, is available online athttp://www.amacad.org/projects/globalnuclearbooks.aspx . More
"We have seen the Obama administration growing more sensitive to the concern that they themselves may be accused of violating international law and more concerned about use by other countries," he says.
The U.S. leads the rest of the world in the development and procurement of drones, but some 60 other nations also have some version of this new weapon. In a speech laying out the administration's justification for drone strikes, U.S. counterterrorism chief John Brennan made it clear the administration is considering how other countries may use drones in the future.
And, of course, terrorism is often in the eye of the beholder. You're going to see states use this justification to carry out attacks on human rights activists and political opponents.
"President Obama and those of us on his national security team are very mindful that as our nation uses this technology, we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow," Brennan said. "If we want other nations to use these technologies responsibly, we must use them responsibly."
Brennan said the administration has determined it can conduct targeted drone strikes against suspected terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the U.S. and to save American lives, and he said there was nothing in international law that bans this. But Bellinger, now a partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter, says it doesn't matter what technology is involved, whether it's a drone or bullet, virtually no other country in the world buys into the U.S. rationale. More
This is a breach of the contract by the supplier in Russia. NPCIL officers who have known this are guilty of installing an unsafe machine with high risk of RPV failure leading to offsite radiological contamination besides causing financial loss to the company in case of premature retirement of the reactors. By consenting to its erection, AERB has also reneged on its responsibilities. Incidentally, according to the existing compensation regime, the supplier has no liability. These legal issues will have to be investigated and decided upon by appropriate national and international agencies. More
Monday, June 11, 2012
reports. Local news has footage of the wreckage. No one was hurt except the Navy’s pride.
But ouch, that pride. As AOL Defense reports, Thursday marks the debut of a new pimped-out Global Hawk at Pax River, as part of the Navy’s newest iteration of its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Program. BAMS, as it’s known, uses a Global Hawk outfitted with Navy-specific sensors to spy on a whole lot of ocean and beach. In this case, the Navy was set to debut two new, powerful 360-degree radars aboard its Global Hawks, with range in the hundreds of miles, as part of a $1.16 billion contract signed in 2008.
It’s unclear if the Global Hawk that crashed was actually carrying the new radars. Even if it wasn’t, the drone programs run by Naval aviation look increasingly star-crossed. In April, technical glitches forced the Navy to ground its robotic Fire Scout helicopters despite praising their performance in counternarcotics operations to the high heavens. Then the Navy decided to spend another quarter billion dollars on an upgrade. More
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Official Iranian media outlets published a commentary Sunday titled “The necessity for the Islamic world to have the atomic bomb,” laying the groundwork for Iran’s refusal to accept limits on its illicit nuclear program.
The essay’s author, Alireza Forghani, is the former governor of southern Iran’s Kish Province and an analyst and a strategy specialist in the camp of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“The fatwa from Imam Khomeini [the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution] said ‘all Islamic countries have Islamic blood,’” Forghani wrote. “Therefore the Islamic world should rise up and shout that a nuclear bomb is our right, and disrupt the dreams of America and Israel.”
“Having a nuclear bomb is our right,” he argued. “Israel would have been destroyed completely 30 years ago” but has survived because it has nuclear weapons. (RELATED: Complete coverage of developments in Iran)
In February, Forghani laid out the legal case for the annihilation of Israel and all Jewish people. That treatise, which ran in all the Iranian regime’s media outlets, openly called for a pre-emptive strike on Israel.
Among the state-run media carrying Forghani’s new piece — which argues that Iran should have an atomic bomb – is the major outlet Fars News Agency, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards and thus represents the views of the Islamic regime. MoreIt could be argued that if the USA had had a more peaceful and realistic policy towards Iran since 1953 the outcome could have been quite different. Editor
Friday, June 8, 2012
The satellite images displayed to IAEA member delegations last week by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, head of the agency's Safeguards Department, showed a series of changes that have been the subject of leaks to the news media: a stream of water coming out of building at a site at Parchin, the demolition of two small buildings nearby the larger building said by the IAEA to have housed a bomb containment chamber, and earth moved from locations north and south of the site to be dumped further north.
After seeing the pictures, U.S. Permanent Representative to the IAEA Robert Wood declared, "It was clear from some of the images that were presented to us that further sanitisation efforts are ongoing at the site."
But the activities shown in those satellite images show activities appear to be aimed at prompting the IAEA, the United States and Israel to give greater urgency and importance to a request for an IAEA inspection visit to Parchin in the context of negotiations between Iran and the IAEA.
The latest round in those negotiations, on a framework for Iran's cooperation with the IAEA in clearing up allegations of Iranian covert nuclear weapons work, failed to reach agreement on Friday.
Greg Thielmann, former director of Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, said in an interview with IPS that he didn't know whether the changes shown in satellite images were part of a conscious Iranian negotiating strategy.
But Thielmann, now a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, said the effect of the changes is to "increase the interest of the IAEA in an inspection at Parchin as soon as possible and to give Iran more leverage in the negotiations". More
For now, Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s nominal leader, still holds the broad influence that he has consolidated since Osama bin Laden’s death last year. But the hierarchical structure of global jihad may be loosening a bit. Mr. Libi’s death in a drone strike has torn at the connective tissue between the group’s embattled leadership in Pakistan and its far-flung affiliates across the Middle East and Africa.
“Now, with most of their well-known figures out of the picture, it will be hard for Al Qaeda’s core to maintain its role as the example for its affiliates to follow,” said one American official who follows classified counterterrorism reports.
Mr. Libi’s killing may even augur increased violence as younger, more impetuous fighters vie to seize the mantle of global leadership, analysts say. At the top of that list are leaders from the affiliate in Yemen, formally known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or A.Q.A.P., who three times in the last three years have tried unsuccessfully to blow up commercial airliners bound for the United States. The most recent plot was thwarted last month when the suicide bomber turned out to be simultaneously working for the Saudi, British and American intelligence agencies.
“Libi’s death won’t have an impact on A.Q.A.P.,” said Will McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism official who now works for the Center for Naval Analyses outside Washington."You cannot fight an idea, not even with the strongest military in the world". Whether it is against Al Qaeda or the Palestinian's fight against an illegal occupation of their homeland or the Occupy Movement, an idea cannot be killed. An idea is the original and ultimate Phoenix, it rises from the ashes of every dead Insurgent or freedom fighter stronger and more potent. Without addressing the underlying cause of discontent the range of this mythological creature will surely spread. Editor
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Navi Pillay was speaking at the end of a fact-finding visit to Pakistan.US officials defended the policy after al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was reportedly killed in a drone strike earlier this week. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the US would "continue to defend ourselves". Drone attacks have become a central part of US counter-terror operations but Ms Pillay said they were legally problematic.
On Tuesday the Pakistani foreign ministry summoned the US deputy ambassador in Islamabad to protest at recent drone attacks.
"Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law, in particular the principle of distinction and proportionality," Ms Pillay said.
"Ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command", she added.
Ms Pillay also voiced concerns that the strikes were being conducted "beyond effective and transparent mechanisms of civilian or military control". More
impact relations between NATO and Russia.
Two decades after the end of the Cold War, there is still an uncertain but excessive number of tactical nuclear weapons remaining in Europe. At the last NATO summit in 2010, the alliance committed itself to the goal of creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons. According to foreign ministers Radoslav Sikorski of Poland and Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway (two countries with significantly different approaches to foreign policy), nobody knows the exact size of the US and Russian tactical nuclear arsenals or the exact locations of the weapons; they also point out that tactical nuclear weapons are not covered by any existing arms control system. As Sikorski and Støre wrote shortly before the summit, "NATO should honor this commitment and seize the opportunity of the upcoming Chicago summit to look at its nuclear policy -- and engage with Russia." The ministers correctly argued that such talks could help improve the tenor of NATO-Russian relations, bring about greater transparency in deployment and verification, and enhance mutual trust between these two entities. Unfortunately, no action was taken on this front; in fact, NATO appears to be committed to upgrading its tactical nuclear weapons. More
Two decades after the end of the Cold War, there is still an uncertain but excessive number of tactical nuclear weapons remaining in Europe.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
True to form, during the discussion of that agenda item, Iran made a statement to the BOG this morning. Iran’s report represented the last scheduled occasion for Iran to make a comprehensive statement about its nuclear program before meeting with the six powers in Moscow on June 18. For that reason, the audience inside the boardroom in the M Building at the VIC today were particularly attentive.
Delegates were treated to a broadside by Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh suggesting that Iran isn’t about to come to Moscow in a mood to cooperate. Among other points, Soltanieh told us today:
Most of this we have heard before, in fact since 2005 we’ve heard it many times. But with a little less than two weeks to go before Moscow, a lot of people in the boardroom interpreted this outburst as a signal that Iran on June 18 will not compromise. Is that really true? If the six powers during the next two weeks offer something more to Iran than spare parts for Boeing aircraft and additional Russian nuclear power cooperation, maybe there will be movement. But since we don’t really know what Iran is being offered by the six powers, we can’t say. More
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
“We welcome [India's] playing a more active role in Afghanistan, a more active political and economic role,” an anonymous Defense Department official traveling with Panetta told reporters in India. The Wall Street Journalspeculated that the move “may be designed to tweak Pakistan.”
That might be an understatement. “It will add to [Pakistan's] underlying fear that they may be sandwiched by India and an Indian proxy,” says Shuja Nawaz, a South Asia scholar at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Not a good way of getting them to help with the Afghan transition.”
Briefing reporters at the Pentagon, Capt. John Kirby, a top Defense Department spokesman, said that Panetta was expressing his “fervent hope” that the Indians will “continue to stay engaged in the region and in particular in helping Afghanistan as it moves forward.” Afghanistan wasn’t the focus of Panetta’s visit, Kirby added: “He’s in India to thank them for their efforts at regional leadership and to look for ways to deepen our defense cooperation with India and our relationship with India.” More
The pride of the Israeli navy is rocking gently in the swells of the Mediterranean, with the silhouette of the Carmel mountain range reflected on the water's surface. To reach the Tekumah, you have to walk across a wooden jetty at the pier in the port of Haifa, and then climb into a tunnel shaft leading to the submarine's interior. The navy officer in charge of visitors, a brawny man in his 40s with his eyes hidden behind a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, bounces down the steps. When he reaches the lower deck, he turns around and says: "Welcome on board the Tekumah. Welcome to my toy."
He pushes back a bolt and opens the refrigerator, revealing zucchini, a pallet of yoghurt cups and a two-liter bottle of low-calorie cola. The Tekumah has just returned from a secret mission in the early morning hours.
The navy officer, whose name the military censorship office wants to keep secret, leads the visitors past a pair of bunks and along a steel frame. The air smells stale, not unlike the air in the living room of an apartment occupied solely by men. At the middle of the ship, the corridor widens and merges into a command center, with work stations grouped around a periscope. The officer stands still and points to a row of monitors, with signs bearing the names of German electronics giant Siemens and Atlas, a Bremen-based electronics company, screwed to the wall next to them.
The "Combat Information Center," as the Israelis call the command center, is the heart of the submarine, the place where all information comes together and all the operations are led. The ship is controlled from two leather chairs. It looks as if it could be in the cockpit of a small aircraft. A display lit up in red shows that the vessel's keel is currently located 7.15 meters (23.45 feet) below sea level.
"This was all built in Germany, according to Israeli specifications," the navy officer says,"and so were the weapons systems." The Tekuma, 57 meters long and 7 meters wide, is a showpiece of precision engineering, painted in blue and made in Germany. To be more precise, it is a piece of precision engineering made in Germany that is suitable for equipping with nuclear weapons.
No Room for Doubt
Deep in their interiors, on decks 2 and 3, the submarines contain a secret that even in Israel is only known to a few insiders: nuclear warheads, small enough to be mounted on a cruise missile, but explosive enough to execute a nuclear strike that would cause devastating results. This secret is considered one of the best kept in modern military history. Anyone who speaks openly about it in Israel runs the risk of being sentenced to a lengthy prison term. More
Monday, June 4, 2012
India’s naval modernization and expansion programme has continued to raise Pakistan’s suspicions and has contributed to escalating tensions. In 20 February this year, Pakistan Navy Chief Asif Sandila told Defense News, a flagship US-based publication, that: “The strategic dimension of India’s naval buildup is a cause of concern.” He added: “We are mindful of this development and taking necessary measures to restore the strategic balance.”
The sentiment expressed by other Pakistani defence commentators provides another revealing insight into how Pakistan is likely to fashion its future naval strategy. For instance, in 2002 Malik Ayaz Hussain Tiwana stated in the Defence Journal, one of Pakistan’s leading defence publications: “In any future conflict, Pakistan naval forces should be capable of selectively operating on India’s eastern seaboard, threatening its shipping and tying down a portion of the Indian Navy in the east.” He concluded: “Also, Pakistan naval units should be adequately equipped to challenge and break any enemy blockade attempted away from the ranges of our Air Force cover.”
Similarly, in December 2011, Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak, a Research Fellow at the Islamabad-based South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, wrote in the Eurasia Review: “[The] Indian Navy is developing its overall capabilities at rapid pace. Induction of [an] aircraft carrier, nuclear submarines, network-centric and electronic warfare capabilities, latest radars, weapons and equipment, fast [attack] boats, frigates, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, satellites, UAVs and regular exercises at sea will make [the] Indian Navy a serious threat to Pakistan’s maritime interests in future.” Given that maritime trade constitutes 97 per cent of Pakistan’s total trade, it is evident that Pakistan is fearful that a modern and expanded Indian Navy could pose a greater threat to its sea lines of communications and, in the event of war, impose a naval blockade that would have a crippling effect on the nation’s economy. More
Sunday, June 3, 2012
In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.
Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977, when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan about the issue.
The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh, eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.
The German government recently signed the contract for the delivery of the sixth vessel. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Chancellor Angela Merkel made substantial concessions to the Israelis. Not only is Berlin financing one-third of the cost of the submarine, around €135 million ($168 million), but it is also allowing Israel to defer its payment until 2015.
Merkel had tied the delivery of the sixth submarine to a number of conditions, including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money. So far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms. More
Who is Israel planning to threaten with nuclear cruise missiles? What type of statement is this making? And what is Germany thinking in aiding and abetting this madness? Editor