China Has Been Arming The Pakistani Nuclear Horn

Former Chinese nuclear engineer: ‘We’ve been transferring nuclear technology to Pakistan’

After two nuclear tests last year and a new ballistic missile launch on Feb. 12, North Korea has invited fresh denunciation and economic sanctions from the international community.

Even China has been concerned as Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons threatens Beijing’s ability to rein in its capricious ally.

In past years, the assistance North Korea received from Pakistan in developing its nuclear weapons has been well-publicized. In the 2005 article “New Players on the Scene: A.Q. Khan and the Nuclear Black Market,” U.S. Air Force Col. Charles D. Lutes revealed the role Islamabad played in spreading nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran.

Now, insider sources in China have indicated it was Beijing that indirectly supplied North Korea by aiding Pakistan’s development of nuclear technology and gifting it critical raw materials.

According to Huang Huiping, a former researcher at the China Institute of Atomic Energy, “In the 1980s, one of the CIAE’s tasks was to transfer our nuclear technologies to other countries, including Pakistan. They sent people to China to study nuclear engineering, and China (including our Institute) also sent specialists to Pakistan to assist in their nuclear technology.”

In 2009, the Washington Post cited Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist, as saying that in 1982, China “had gifted us 50 kg [kilograms] of weapon-grade enriched uranium, enough for two weapons.”

China joined the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1992. Pakistan conducted its first successful nuclear weapons test in 1998, becoming the seventh country to explode a nuclear bomb. But it still lacked the rocket technology needed to deliver its nuclear weapons. And in 2000, China pledged that it would not assist any country in developing ballistic missiles.

But Chinese aid to Pakistan continued, and Huang Huiping entertained private doubts.

Because China and India don’t get along, China assists Pakistan [in its nuclear weapons program] to oppose India,” she told NTD Television in a phone interview. “Having witnessed such irresponsible acts, I began to seriously question whether these advanced technologies would bring benefit or catastrophe to humanity.”

From Islamabad to the Kim dynasty

Pakistani nuclear arms and technology, aided by China, has ended up in North Korean hands via the black market and through Chinese corporations associated with the Communist Party.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against a northeastern Chinese company called Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development for supplying North Korea with alloys necessary for uranium enrichment. The company’s head, a female government official and Party member, was arrested and placed under investigation in the fallout of this incident.

Another example: in September 2001, the United States imposed sanctions on the state-owned China Metallurgical Equipment Corporation (MECC) for selling missile parts to Pakistan. This caused a political scandal that Beijing moved to correct.

According to economics expert Yang Jianli, a pro-democracy dissident who founded Initiatives for China, the Chinese regime sentenced five people involved in the sale of key metallurgical technologies to Pakistan. In 2002, Yang himself had been detained by the Ministry of State Security while investigating a surge in unemployment in Northeast China.

Yang’s cellmate happened to be one of the five MECC officials convicted in the face of U.S. pressure.

“He told me he felt wronged,” Yang Jianli told NTD Television. “He was following orders by the Chinese government to sell those technologies. They said the State Council and the Central government had official approved the documents.”

But when the MECC official became a scapegoat, he was coerced to plead guilty to the charges under threat that he would be investigated for corruption instead. “In the end, the five of them were convicted on multiple charges and given eight-to-ten-year sentences,” Yang said.

The Sixth Seal Long Overdue (Revelation 6)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

The Big One Awaits

The Big One Awaits

By MARGO NASH
Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

Photo: Alexander Gates, a Rutgers geologist, is mapping a part of the Ramapo Fault, site of previous earthquakes. (John W. Wheeler for The New York Times)

Iraqi PM Clashes With Antichrist’s Followers

25651PM Abadi leaves university in Wasit after clashes with protestors

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi was forced to leave Al-Qadisiya University in the southeastern Iraqi province of Wasit on Tuesday after students waged demonstrations against him at the campus, on the heels of multiple protests against current Iraqi election law.

Later, protesting students and Abadi’s guards clashed, according to a Rudaw source from inside the campus, adding that the students were chanting against Abadi and throwing bricks at him, forcing the prime minister to leave the campus immediately.

The force defending Abadi used bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, causing 50 people to suffer breathing difficulties, according to the source. After the incident, ambulances arrived on the scene and rushed the affected students to the hospital.

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said security forces later took measures to avoid media agencies broadcasting the incident.

Abadi’s trip to the Wasit province was to visit the university, meet with families who had lost relatives in the fight against ISIS, and to attend a Wasit Council of Ministers meeting.

According to a statement from the PM after the visit, he was calling on universities remain separate from political conflicts. The release stated Abadi said the educational aspect is essential in defeating ISIS.

He added that those who have a problem with the prime minister should direct complaints at him without affecting the security of the country and thus distracting from the battle [against ISIS].

Abadi also visited the families of Iraqi forces who were killed against ISIS, expressing that their sacrifices were able to “liberate the occupied.”

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr released a statement, calling the assault on Abadi’s convoy a breach against the prestige of the state and also that people in Wasit province should from refrain all peaceful protests until further notice. The release stated the protests do not represent [Sadrists] and may even be hostile to it.

Protestors, many of them loyal to Sadr, have called in recent months on the parliament to dissolve the Iraqi High Electoral Commission (IHEC) while the country prepares for April’s crucial parliamentary and provincial elections.

The IHEC, which is seen as an independent polling body, has members that are affiliated with nearly all political parties across the Iraqi spectrum, including several Kurdish members. Sadr has in the past cast doubt on the independence of the commission and stated that “no election are free and fair under the current IHEC.”

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.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called Tehran the main sponsor of global terrorism and a destabilizing force in 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.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Iran’s ultimate objective was to undermine Riyadh, and called for a dialogue with Sunni Arab countries to defeat “radical” elements in the region.

“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.

“It is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,” he said.

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)

Khamenei’s Miscalculation of Babylon the Great

Ayatollah Khamenei’s miscalculation may cost Iran dearly

Shahir Shahidsaless
Monday 27 February 2017 20:30 UTC

Since the culmination of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six powers, which is commonly referred to by its Farsi acronym as Barjam, the position of Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has been as follows: “[Barjam] removed the malevolent war shadow over Iran … and, [as a result], real security returned to our country.”

According to a report prepared by Raja News, a hardline outlet that quotes several officials on Rouhani’s team, this viewpoint is shared by the president’s circle, including his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

However, in his 17 February televised address, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an angry tone, “It is said that in the absence of Barjam, Iran would have become engulfed in war. This is a pure lie.”

What is behind Ayatollah’s position? The arguments presented by the radical camp, including Raja News, could prove telling.

‘Which insane? Which war?’

An article published on the Raja News website and widely shared by other hardline news outlets, titled “Which insane? Which war?” read: “The [reformist] chain newspapers and servants of the current that promotes Westernisation, in their headlines and writings, aim to convince people that [Donald] Trump is an insane warmonger.”

Why? “Because,” the article continues, “once people are convinced that Trump is an unpredictable and crazy personality who can take any action [at his choosing], they would be forced to elect a president whose stated policy is centered on ‘patience and toleration’ and believes in detente with Trump, [rather than resistance against him].”

In other words, the moderates’ argument that should Barjam collapse, a war with the US under Trump would be inevitable, is a lie. It is a conspiracy. It is nothing but a propaganda tool designed to scare people in order to distance them from the hardliners, who believe in resistance against, rather than diplomacy with, Washington.

According to Raja News, the ultimate motive behind taking such a position is to attract votes for Rouhani in order to win the upcoming presidential election in May.

‘Either war or peace’

In support of Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks against the president and his team, the most important position was taken by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in an editorial in the 20 February issue of the weekly Sobhe Sadiq. The article in the publication of IRGC’s political body was titled, “The invalidity of the argument of either war or peace.”

‘One can argue that this dirty scenario of either war or peace, which is pursued for election purposes, serves Zionists, the House of Saud, and the newcomers in the US’- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps editorial

The opening of the editorial maintains that the Rouhani administration “has taken Trump’s aggressiveness as an opportunity … to portray him as an illogical and dangerous person … in order to create a discourse of ‘either war or peace,’ which can have a political application aimed at [shaping the outcome of the upcoming] election in favour of the current administration”.

The editorial argues that moderates seek to portray any resistance from their opponents – meaning the IRGC and conservatives as a whole – against the US as dangerous and a symbol of warmongering. Moderates, thus, seek to shape public opinion so that those who supported talks with the US and successfully concluded the nuclear deal represent peace and security for the nation, the article argues.

It then fiercely attacks the discourse of “either war or peace” and positions this thesis as in line with the policies of the Zionists and Saudis, who seek to use Trump-phobia to scare Iran and tame its revolutionary nature.

“Therefore, one can argue that this dirty scenario of either war or peace, which is pursued for election purposes, serves Zionists, the House of Saud, and the newcomers in the US,” the editorial reads.

The article presented six reasons as to why the US is incapable of engaging in a war with Iran. The reasons were briefly as follows:

High financial costs.
A lack of consensus both within the US and between the US and its allies on entering into a war with Iran.
Unpredictable consequences of such a war.
Trump’s priorities, which are to fix domestic, rather than international, problems.
Trump’s stated policy of avoiding securitising other nations (namely, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms, and Israel) at the expense of the US.
Trump’s business-focused mindset, which does not favour military confrontations.

The editorial concludes by emphasising that the moderates’ war-or-peace discourse is “in complete contrast with Iran’s national interests”.

Trump, watch your step

There are two explanations for Ayatollah Khamenei’s position, which calls such discourse “a pure lie”.

The first is that he does not want to allow moderates, as argued by the IRGC, to continue using the argument as a major element of their platform for the upcoming presidential elections. Simply put, he wants to silence and disarm Rouhani and his supporters who deploy this rationale to marginalise the Ayatollah’s own supporters – the radicals and their candidate(s) in the May election.

This position is understandable, because since Khamenei’s election as Iran’s supreme leader in 1989, no Iranian president has been in line with him (presidents are elected by the direct vote of the people). Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seemed to be Khamenei’s favourite, had sharp disagreements and confrontations with the Ayatollah during his second term.

The second explanation is that Khamenei does not want to give the impression to the new US administration that Iran is in a weak position and will bend no matter how aggressive Washington acts.

In other words, Khamenei seeks to convey the following message: “Watch what you do. If you impose new sanctions or avoid renewing sanctions waivers, as you are committed to under Barjam, we will walk away from the agreement despite your sabre-rattling. We are not afraid of the consequences of taking such a step because we know that you are not in a position to start a war.”

Dangerous misperception?

Iran, in clear defiance of Trump, conducted a ballistic missile test several days after his inauguration. This and additional missile tests in the future will be carried out based on the assumption that even if Barjam collapses, no war will occur under Trump’s watch.

If the US imposes new sanctions under non-nuclear pretexts on the banking and energy sector of Iran, which is quite likely, the nuclear deal will collapse

Such a view is a misperception. It is true that Trump, as an isolationist, does not seek a new war, and that he prioritises domestic issues. However, if the US imposes new sanctions under non-nuclear pretexts – for example, over the expansion of missile programme – on the banking and energy sector of Iran, which is quite likely, Barjam will collapse.

That will result in Iranian retaliatory policies, namely an unstoppable expansion of its nuclear and missile programmes, which could unwittingly drag the two states into war.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s assertion – that it is a pure lie to claim that in the absence of a nuclear deal, war would be inevitable – is a miscalculation.

As the prominent international relations scholar Robert Jervis has put it, “War is most likely if you overestimate others’ hostility but underestimate their capabilities. War can occur without misperception, but rarely.”

– Shahir Shahidsaless is an Iranian-Canadian political analyst and freelance journalist writing about Iranian domestic and foreign affairs, the Middle East and US foreign policy in the region. He is the co-author of Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace. He is a contributor to several websites with focus on the Middle East as well as the Huffington Post. He also regularly writes for BBC Persian. You can reach him at shahir.shahidsaless@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @SShahisaless.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses teachers during the Teachers’ Day on 6 May 2015 in Tehran (AFP)