India’s Nuclear Hegemony

Pakistan has said that India is capable of producing 2600 nuclear weapons

India Today

Amid heightened tension between the two neighbouring nations in the wake of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan has said that India is capable of producing 2600 nuclear weapons.

Claiming the India has the fastest growing nuclear programme in the world, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad that India’s nuclear aspirations pose a threat to strategic stability in the south Asian region.

“Pakistan has been underscoring the risk of diversion by India to imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology received pursuant to civil nuclear accord and 2008 energy waiver by Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Radio Pakistan quoted Zakaria, as saying.

The top Pakistan official also raised concerns over India’s bid for a permanent membership at the NSG, saying the world community should check the risks involved in allowing New Delhi a seat in the elite group.


Pakistan’s statement regarding India enhancing its nuclear capability has come just days after reports suggested that New Delhi may be rethinking its nuclear doctrine.

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan if it feared that Islamabad was likely to use the weapons first, a top nuclear expert on South Asia has claimed.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had said.

He also pointed out that India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.

The Problem With Trump’s Big Mouth

Has there ever been a more indiscreet world leader than Donald Trump? We knew in the campaign that he had a big mouth when he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women and getting away with it, but very few people would have predicted that this propensity to discuss private matters in wildly inappropriate contexts would extend to classified intelligence.

After all,  month after month he excoriated Hillary Clinton for allowing some confidential emails to be inadvertently sent over her personal email server when she was secretary of state. He said it disqualified her, in fact, and “she should not have been allowed” to run for president because of it.

Trump told Clinton to her face that if he were president she would be in jail:

Well, Donald Trump is the president now and several different government entities are investigating his campaign and administration. And he’s been shamelessly blurting out highly sensitive intelligence to foreign adversaries, unstable tyrants and even the press without a second thought.

Trump felt the need to meet with the Russian ambassador and the foreign minister at the behest of Vladimir Putin and in the course of their conversation he bragged that he had “great intel” and proceeded to expose a foreign ally’s asset by giving them  highly sensitive “code-word” intelligence without the ally’s permission. As former CIA chief John Brennan explained in testimony  before Congress this week, while it’s true that a president has the authority to declassify information, he is supposed to follow protocols:

The first [protocol] is that this kind of intelligence is not shared with visiting foreign ministers or local ambassadors. It’s shared through intelligence channels. The second is that, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners, it has to go back to the originating agency to ensure that revealing it won’t compromise sources, methods and future collection capabilities.

There has never been a need for a protocol to guide a proudly ignorant, inexperienced president with a pathological need to brag to everyone he meets, since nobody anticipated such a thing before. Now we know.

And nobody anticipated that this same president would visit the foreign ally he exposed and confirm to reporters from all over the world that it had been the source of that intelligence. But Trump did that too.

And while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on a good face for the cameras, the effect on the relationship has been profound. After the breach was reported, BuzzFeed spoke to two Israeli intelligence officials who said that this was their worst fear confirmed. One explained, “There has to be trust for this sort of arrangement. I cannot speak for Israel’s entire security apparatus, but I would not trust a partner who shared intelligence without coordinating it with us first.”

Foreign Policy reported that the Israeli defense minister admitted that the two countries have since revised their “protocols” and when asked what they were he tartly replied, “Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms.” A certain president shouldn’t talk about such things in closed rooms either, since he is incapable of understanding protocols for anything.

But that wasn’t the only report we had this week of Donald Trump’s loose lips putting national security in danger. The Intercept released a transcript of the Trump’s recent phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (I wrote about it here.) The actual words were worse than we knew. Not only did the president effusively compliment Duterte on his murderous drug war, he also insulted former President Barack Obama for failing to be equally impressed.

The two leaders  discussed the threat from North Korea, mused about the mental state of Kim Jong-un and batted around the idea that nuclear war might end up being necessary. Trump said he hoped the Chinese would take care of it but promised that if they didn’t the U.S. would. Then he shared some military secrets with a foreign leader widely seen as unbalanced and untrustworthy:

We have two submarines – the best in the world – we have two nuclear submarines – not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but [Kim] could be crazy so we will see what happens.

According to BuzzFeed, the Pentagon was in shock:

“We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movements secret is key to their mission.

While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that, in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of force. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

Trump, Duterte, Kim Jong-un and nuclear weapons. What could go wrong?

There are dozens of reasons why America’s allies and adversaries alike are starting to panic a little bit about Donald Trump serving as the supposed leader of the free world. Until now, despite major misgivings, it was not entirely clear whether Trump might grow into the job or whether American institutions and expertise would be able to guide his behavior. After four months it seems clear that’s not as easy as everyone hoped.

In this context, the fact that U.S. officials apparently leaked the identity of the accused Manchester bomber to the press before U.K. authorities were ready to do so was received with sharp irritation by the British government. If this had happened under any other administration, the misunderstanding between two close allies would likely have been handled quietly. But it’s obvious that the gusher of leaks throughout the government and at high levels of the White House has other countries spooked.

Along with the president’s ongoing inability to understand and respect the seriousness of classified intelligence, this lack of trust in the United States government’s basic competence and predictability is making the world order as we’ve known it for the last 60 years suddenly feel very unstable. It will be interesting to see whether the NATO meeting being held over the next few days can provide any sense of reassurance.

The Real “Korea” Problem

Image result for korea iran alliance

Iran is Our Biggest North Korea Problem

Far from being smart and pragmatic, thinking North Korea’s odious regime can be reformed into a better regime seems to rely on magical Unicorns spreading sparkly poop across Pyongyang and infecting their leadership class with hopeful goodness. Getting rid of the Iranian mullah regime is the key to a successful North Korea policy.

Yeah, nice work if you can get it:

Our main argument is that a smart, practical foreign policy on North Korea must include cooperation with China, a controlled Russia, strong assurances to South Korea, the equities of Japan, robust domestic support in the United States and no direct military confrontation to achieve the political objective of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. [emphasis added]

Is that all a successful North Korea policy to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses rather than to his knees requires? Plus North Korea’s cooperation, of course. A simple oversight, I’m sure.

I feel foolish not to have thought of this approach before. Especially the “equities” of Japan. I don’t know what it means but it sounds awesome.

But really, there are more modifiers than policy in this policy description. And ponder that Russia is the wild card in their framework–not North Korea itself.

And one more thing. Why muddy the waters by pretending that the problem is denuclearizing the “Korean peninsula” when the nuclear problem lies solely north of the 38th parallel?

I remain convinced that our main problem with reacting to North Korea lies outside of North Korea in Iran.

Back when President Bush named the Axis of Evil, I felt the proper response to each was invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam, support for an Iranian revolution to overthrow of Iran’s mullahs, and containment of North Korea until they collapsed–ideally before they get nukes.

We invaded Iraq. And you must admit that having an Iraq that fights rather than supports terrorism; doesn’t slaughter their own Kurds; and which doesn’t seek WMD or threaten to invade Kuwait and points south is a good thing.

But we never supported the people of Iran who polls show like America but don’t like their government. Under Bush, the Democrats would have impeached the man for trying that.

And under Obama there was no interest in that solution given we sided with the mullahs when the people took to the streets in 2009 in support of real reform rather than accepting the rigged elections that perpetuate mullah rule; and given the horrible nuclear deal that shoveled money at Iran with only the fig leaf of delaying Iran’s nuclear threshold a decade (assuming Iran does not cheat).

Ponder that President Obama looked the other way while the Iranian regime suppressed their people in order to pave the way for the monumentally stupid Iran nuclear deal. The Obama administration truly believed that an Iranian ruler was “moderate” if he could avoid screaming “Death to America!” in English while a Western camera was pointed at him.

Unless the Iranian people somehow topple the regime, we’re stuck with this aggressive nutball regime that wants nukes.

In my view, overthrowing Iran’s mullahs was the necessary condition for supporting containment of North Korea. North Korea is awful, but I think they can be deterred from using nukes because their priority is regime survival.

As distasteful as accepting that regime is, the cost of war (and any narrow strike on nuclear targets could easily and rapidly expand to general war) would be monumental. I’m sorry that the North Korean people suffer under this approach, but somebody will and I’d rather it not be us or our allies. Life is rough, eh?

With a nutball Iranian regime that could very well buy nuclear technology from North Korea (or even complete nuclear weapons systems), containing North Korea just enables Iran to go nuclear.

When North Korea announces this, are they just letting a customer know that they are ready to take orders?

North Korea said on Monday it successfully tested what it called an intermediate-range ballistic missile, which met all technical requirements and could now be mass-produced, although U.S. officials and experts questioned the extent of its progress.

You must admit that the nuclear deal with Iran could result in Iran technically abiding fully with the terms of the agreement and also buying nuclear weapons from North Korea.

As long as Iran needs North Korea to get nukes, simply containing North Korea is a less than ideal solution.

Not to mock the authors too much. I do have great respect for SAMS. Maybe my imagination is insufficient to appreciate their policy proposal. Although in my own defense their presentation invited mockery. Yet I do think deterrence rather than use of force could be the policy of choice if North Korea has no nutball customers for their nukes.

And I do want to keep pressure on North Korea. Although I think regime (or state) collapse is the more likely goal rather than hoping that the regime will evolve into something less horrible. North Korea is clearly willing to impoverish and starve their people to remain in power. I think North Korea is wrong to believe nukes are necessary to deter invasion and so remain in power, but the North Korean elites apparently believe it very much.

South Korea evolved from a non-murderous authoritarian regime to a real democracy. North Korea has a long way to just reach South Korea’s starting point. Is there really hope of going even part of the way down that route?

The only way to get to a North Korea policy that doesn’t involve war to destroy North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure is to destroy the mullah regime in Iran before it gets nuclear weapons. Do that and North Korean nukes are a bilateral deterrence issue rather than a proliferation issue.

This makes President’s Trump to the Middle East very significant:

One speech cannot change Arab or Muslim perceptions of the president or the U.S. as an ally. Much will depend on the years and actions that follow. Words really matter, however, and especially in the Middle East. This time, the president used the right words to start rebuilding the foundations of America’s strategic partnerships in the Muslim world and Middle East, and to deal with truly urgent threats. This speech is the right beginning — in remarkably well-crafted terms — and it deserves bipartisan and expert respect.

Indeed, with a focus on defeating Iran that this trip highlights rather than the last administration’s hope to befriend and neuter Iran,

the deal may handcuff Iran’s nuclear production ambitions long enough to defeat the mullahs


And a friendly Iran would have a great effect on our Afghanistan dilemma, too.

The Threat of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Image result for brahmos missileThreat of nuclear war against Pakistan | Pakistan

ZKMZahoor Khan Marwat

This was in a marked reversal of its well-known no-first use policy, according to the leading nuclear strategist. “India’s opening salvo may not be conventional strikes trying to pick off just Nasr batteries (launch vehicles for Pakistan’s tactical battlefield nuclear warheads) in the theatre, but a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ that attempts to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons so that India does not have to engage in iterative tit-for-tat exchanges and expose its own cities to nuclear destruction,” he said.

Narang cited from Menon’s book “Choices: Inside the Making of Indian Foreign Policy” released in November 2016. “There is a potential gray area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first against another NWS (nuclear weapon state). Circumstances are conceivable in which India might find it useful to strike first, for instance, against an NWS that had declared it would certainly use its weapons, and if India were certain that adversary’s launch was imminent.”

In addition, recent reports in Indian and international media about Indian capacity to launch a disarming first strike have clearly indicated that the BJP led government of India under the Doval-Modi duo is becoming more jingoist with every passing day. It may be noted that India’s nuclear doctrinal developments and employment strategies chiefly remain directed towards Pakistan.

On the other hand, Pakistan has acquired nuclear capability for the sole purpose of security and safeguarding her vital national interests, its territorial integrity and sovereignty and to ensure its security and survival against intense and major aggression. The programme works as a hedge against strategic threats to our security.

Experts believe that regional stability is much needed in South Asia as India touts its nuclear brinkmanship. This can only come through a strategic restraint regime, which would lead to escalation control.

India’s test-firing of 450 km supersonic Brahmos cruise missile without notifying Pakistan has once again brought up the issue of avoiding an arms race in the region and to strive for strategic stability. Pakistan on March 16 this year once again reiterated its proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime for South Asia, which has been more or less on the table since 1998.

The belligerent Indian stance and illogical and unreasonable defence build-up has long been highlighted by Pakistan. India remains the largest importer of defence equipment in the region and its hegemonic designs are endangering peace and security in the region and beyond. It pays lip-service to the objective of non-proliferation and gives morally deplorable false statements against its neighbours while relentlessly pursuing a conventional and strategic arms build-up.

The ongoing nuclear arms race initiated by the Indian hegemonic leadership, which has fundamental discomfort with nuclear weapons in Pakistan, does not augur well in the emerging geo-strategic realities whereby trends are shifting from geo-strategic to geo-economics domain. Pakistan wants to move on and improve its relationship with India in the entire spectrum of international relations whereas India not only threatens Pakistan of massive nuclear retaliation but has also gone on a massive arms purchase spree.

In the absence of strategic restraint, the situation appears to be getting extremely complex and uncertain. Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime for South Asia remains on the table.

Korea as an Iranian Proxy

Former CIA agent says Iran aiding North Korea as new missile test emboldens Pyongyang

CNBC Jeff Daniels
North Korea’s launch of an intermediate ballistic missile test on Sunday appears to be a new model and shows an improved capability to reach U.S. military bases on Guam. Also, experts said the new missile is a mid-range ballistic missile and suggests Pyongyang maybe getting more proficiency with reentry technology that could be used for longer-range missiles.Such reentry mastery would be required for a nuclear warhead to withstand extreme temperatures and other stresses of atmospheric reentry of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“It was a significant advance in terms of missiles that seem to be able to carry a fairly heavy warhead and carry it a fairly significant distance,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and now senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy, a national security think tank based in Washington.

At the same time, Fleitz said there’s “pretty credible information” that the North Koreans have received help in their missile program from Tehran. “It’s going in both directions,” he said.

North Korean on Monday touted the launch on state-run television. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said the secretive regime’s leader Kim Jong Un “hugged officials” who took part in the rocket test and gave them “the order to continuously develop more precise and diversified nukes and nuclear striking means.”

According to Fleitz, North Korea’s missile program is mostly based on old Soviet missiles but he said there’s been “substantial collaboration between the Iranians and the North Koreans.”

The former CIA analyst added, “The Iranians have been more successful in building space-launch vehicles. They actually further developed some of the designs that they received from North Korea – and they further designed other missiles they got from North Korea. And their improvements have gone back to North Korea.”

For example, Tehran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missile capable of reaching Saudi Arabia from Iranian land is based on technology from North Korea’s Nodong-1 rockets. Also, Iran’s Ghadir small submarine, which this month conducted a cruise-missile test, is a vessel remarkably similar to those used by Pyongyang.

Indeed, Fleitz said there are reports Iranian scientists have attended launches of North Korean long-range missile tests and even nuclear tests. It’s not known if Iranian military or scientists attended the North’s missile test Sunday and it’s also not clear at this time how much help Tehran played in the development of the new missile known as the Hwasong-12.

“I suspect the North Koreans also have tried to find scientists – maybe former Soviet scientists – to try to help them develop these [weapons] programs,” said Fleitz, who held U.S. government national security positions for 25 years.

Fleitz said the North Koreans have proved to be “very good at redesigning older missile designs and developing their own variants.”

Experts say the North Koreans are essentially where the U.S. was in rocket technology in the 1950s.

“Fundamentally this is a problem with physics and engineering for them,” said Todd Harrison, a defense expert and senior fellow of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank.

Added Harrison, “They don’t have to have outside help. This is something with trial and error you can figure this out over time.”

Sunday’s North Korea missile test was believed to be the first type of test where the hermit state achieved such a high angle and significant distance. Analysts say these kind of tests also could speed up the North’s testing program as it moves further away from Soviet-era missiles and begins developing more of its own technology.

“Most likely this puts them a little bit closer to being ready to test an ICBM,” said Jenny Town, the assistant director of the U.S.-Korea Institute in Washington and a managing editor at 38 North, which provides analysis of events in and around North Korea.

Even so, national security experts believe it might not be until after 2020 when Pyongyang might have an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S mainland about 4,800 miles from North Korea. Yet experts say the missile test over the weekend showed the secretive regime is making progress and they also expect more testing of this particular missile in the next several months.

“I think there’s some very tough times ahead coming as this missile program progresses,” said Fleitz.

The former U.S. government intelligence analyst said he believes the day is coming when the U.S. and its allies will have to start shooting down the North’s missiles because they will not know whether the missile is a test or an actual attack.

“If the missile looks very likely to strike Japan from North Korea, we have to shoot it down,” said Fleitz. “Or what if the missile is going out towards Hawaii. We can’t assume that it’s a test.”

To be clear, Fleitz said he’s not advocating an outright attack today on North Korea. “I think it’s a terrible idea because of the possibility of retaliation against Seoul.”

Sunday’s test is believed to be a liquid-fueled missile launched from a mobile launcher, and it’s possible the chassis of the truck may have been one originally supplied to the North by the Chinese as a truck to transport lumber. Some of these Chinese-made transporter-erector launch trucks were displayed at the regime’s April 15 military parade.

The missile landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan and near Russia. Based on KCNA’s information, the medium long-range ballistic rocket flew 489 miles and reached heights of up 1,312 miles.

“If you took that same missile and launched it on a trajectory that was optimized for range, you could actually get a range of over 4,000 kilometers (or 2,485 miles),” said CSIS’s Harrison.

In other words, the Hwasong-12 is capable of reaching targets such as the U.S. territory of Guam, which is located about 2,100 miles away from North Korea. Guam has a population of about 165,000, as well as 6,000 U.S. military personnel currently stationed on the island.

Harrison, who served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, said the North Koreans decided not to test the missile to its range on this test because “it would have been a much more provocative trajectory flying over Japan. What they basically did was fly over their own territory and land over in the sea.”

KCNA said the test was “aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly-development rocket capable of carrying a large-size nuclear warhead.”

Also, KCNA said the missile was tested “at the highest angle in consideration of the security of neighboring countries.”

“Instead of shooting it toward something, they are shooting it further up in the air so that when it comes down the reentry vehicle will simulate the conditions of actual reentry,” said the U.S.-Korea Institute’s expert Town. With this approach, she said the North might then be able to use the test results from such high-angle launches to learn more needed “that would be applicable to a three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile in the future.”

“As it stands now, even though they say they are close to testing an ICBM, we would expect that their first few attempts would fail because it is a rather technical venture,” Town said. “Every country that has ever tested ICBM’s has always failed in their first few attempts.”

The Indian Nuclear Horn

Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria yesterday told reporters that Pakistan has been underscoring for decades the risks of diversion by India of imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology, received pursuant to civil nuclear cooperation agreements and the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver.+

“The concerns over diversion are neither new nor unfounded. India enjoys the rare distinction of diverting nuclear material, obtained on its peaceful use commitment, to its nuclear weapons programme,” he said.

“The past and potential misuse of nuclear materials by India entails not only serious issues of nuclear proliferation but also carry grave implications for strategic stability in South Asia and national security of Pakistan.”

He said media reports and papers substantiate an otherwise largely “ignored fact” that India’s nuclear weapons programme is the fastest growing in the world.

Talking about a paper recently released by Harvard Kennedy School, he said that this paper and other several reports corroborate growing concerns related to the use of nuclear material acquired by India from abroad in its existing and future unsafeguarded nuclear reactors, plants and facilities for development of nuclear weapons.

“The recent Belfer paper inter alia concludes that India has accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons,” he said.

He said that NSG states have a responsibility to take into account these well-founded concerns while considering transfer of nuclear material to India and its NSG membership bid.

He claimed that many international nuclear experts, think tanks and media reports in the past years have consistently raised concerns over the lack of transparency, absence of international safeguards, and the potential for diversion of unsafeguarded nuclear material for nuclear weapons in India.

Zakaria also said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was establishing units in Kashmir, which were managed by non-Kashmiri activists.

“Their increasing presence in (Kashmir) is to terrorise Kashmiris and deter them from participating in the self- determination movement,” he alleged.

Zakaria called on the the international community to take notice of the situation in Kashmir and condemned the ban on social media and TV channels in the valley.

He said Pakistan extends full cooperation to

United Nations Military Observers

in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in monitoring situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

Talking about the issue of medical visas by India, he said most patients who were travelling to India from Pakistan have serious ailments requiring urgent medical attention.

“Despite paying for their treatment themselves, these patients are being deprived of their basic right to health, due to political consideration on the part of India,” he said.

“While granting or denying a visa is a sovereign right of any country, this Indian move is unprecedented in inter-state relations,” he said.

The India Nuclear Horn Grows

India has capability to make 2600 nuclear weapons: Pakistan  | Edited by Shashank Shantanu
New Delhi, May 18, 2017

1 India rapidly adding to its nuclear capability, says Pakistan.

India has capability to produce 2600 nuclear weapons, a top Pakistan official said.

3 Islamabad also raises concern over New Delhi’s NSG bid.


Amid heightened tension between the two neighbouring nations in the wake of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Pakistan has said that India is capable of producing 2600 nuclear weapons.

Claiming the India has the fastest growing nuclear programme in the world, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad that India’s nuclear aspirations pose a threat to strategic stability in the south Asian region.

“Pakistan has been underscoring the risk of diversion by India to imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology received pursuant to civil nuclear accord and 2008 energy waiver by Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Radio Pakistan quoted Zakaria, as saying.

The top Pakistan official also raised concerns over India’s bid for a permanent membership at the NSG, saying the world community should check the risks involved in allowing New Delhi a seat in the elite group.

Graphic by Tanmoy Chakraborty


Pakistan’s statement regarding India enhancing its nuclear capability has come just days after reports suggested that New Delhi may be rethinking its nuclear doctrine.

India may abandon its ‘no first use’ nuclear policy and launch a preemptive strike against Pakistan if it feared that Islamabad was likely to use the weapons first, a top nuclear expert on South Asia has claimed.

“There is increasing evidence that India will not allow Pakistan to go first,” Vipin Narang, an expert on South Asian nuclear strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had said.

He also pointed out that India’s preemptive strike may not be conventional strikes and would also be aimed at Pakistan’s missiles launchers for tactical battlefield nuclear warheads.

Iran, Not Pakistan, Made Korea a Nuclear Power

Dr A Q Khan or Pakistan?

North Korea is in the news again. It is threatening South Korea, the United States and the entire world with its nuclear and missile arsenal. Most in the world are not much worried. They consider it as a regular bluff by the North Korean dictator. But one never knows when that dictator would become adventurous and pull a stunt that could have far reaching consequences.

Ever wondered how North Korea, a country with the worst kind of communist dictatorship that starves and tortures its own citizens, where there is no proper education system, no technological/engineer base became a nuclear power.

Readers would remember that famous confession of Dr A Q Khan, Pakistan’s infamous `nuclear` scientist. On 4 February 2004, Khan appeared on the television and confessed to have supplied nuclear technology and components to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

During the telecast, Khan accepted his crimes in English and not in Urdu, which is the language understood by most Pakistanis. That telecast was actually for the international audience, specially the United States and European intelligence agencies. Khan explicitly mentioned that this proliferation network was entirely of his own and the Pakistani government or authorities were never involved.

But was it true?

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions started in late 1950s and early 1960s. The erstwhile USSR agreed to set up their first plutonium based nuclear reactor at Yongbyon-Kun for peaceful use of nuclear technology. Later North Korea set up more reactors, signed NPT to get access to latest technology, allowed IAEA inspectors to inspect its nuclear facilities but never gave up its desire to have `the bomb`. In 1993, IAEA’s inspection team had concluded that North Korea is not completely honest about its `peaceful` nuclear program and had reprocessed nuclear material at least thrice – in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

But North Korea was still far from detonating a device.

Here it will be interesting to note that after Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998, a US sniffer aircraft flew over the test sites and took air samples. US Los Alamos nuclear laboratory tested those samples and found out that the final test(s) was conducted using plutonium as fuel.

Now, Pakistan had left the plutonium route long ago in 1975 when Khan brought stolen Centrifugal technology from Europe where he was working for URENCO as a technical translator. So why did they detonate a plutonium device? CIA believed that Pakistan tested a North Korean nuclear device based on plutonium fuel.

CIA and western agencies had reasons to believe that.

If we check western intelligence agencies declassified information and investigative work by leading journalists, it becomes clear that Pak-North Korean cooperation started long ago. Apart from China, Pakistan was the only major country in the world that not only maintained diplomatic relations with North Korea but received weaponry from them as well. But the cooperation in Nuclear and missile field started in late 1980s.

Investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark did a commendable job while investigating Pakistan’s quest to acquire nuclear weapons and their proliferation. Their book Deception explains it all. In 2006, they interviewed Benazir Bhutto in Dubai. She revealed some interesting facts.

This idea of proliferation for monetary gains was the brain child of the Pakistani Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg. Towards the end of 1989, Benazir was the Prime Minister and in a meeting (attended by Gen Jahagir Karamat, DG-MI and Gen Hamid Gul, DG-ISI) Gen Beg briefed her about the Kashmir situation and suggested ways to fuel the insurgency by setting up more training camps, providing weaponry and logistic support, infiltrating 100,000 battle hardened Afghan Mujahedeen. Benazir was already under pressure due to poor economic state of the country and from the United State. She did not agree to escalate the situation; however she agreed to let Pakistan Army continue the low level insurgency.

Beg’s second proposal was far more dangerous. To run the low level insurgency, Pakistan needed money from sources independent of IMF funding, US aid etc. This was the first time when he suggested selling off the nuclear technology and assistance to likely customers. Bhutto was stunned and could not believe her ears. But the only customer she could thought of were Iraq, Iran and may be Libya.

She then told the General that IMF gave around $200 million a year to Pakistan and how many `customers` he thought would give Pakistan that big amount. And for how many years? What would happen when those customers have got what all they needed? What will happen when international community get to know about this proliferation?

Bhutto rejected the idea and a disappointed General left her office. Bhutto claimed she had no clue about when happened later as military would keep her away from the KRL (Khan Research Laboratory) and the nuclear program.

But the General did not stop. In a 2006 interview, Robert Oakley, Ambassador of the United States in Pakistan from 1988 to 1991, informed the authors of the book that soon after the meeting with Bhutto, Gen Beg went to Iran to get their support in Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir and in return offered Iranians support in their nuclear program. Oakley had informed US administration about this development but considering the Afghan Jihad, the US administration kept quiet.

Benazir also revealed that Pakistani Army and AQ Khan did not lose hope. In December 1993, she was to visit Beijing and AQ Khan approached her again. He met Benazir and requested her to visit Pyongyong with a special request. Khan wanted Benazir to ask North Korean dictator for NoDong missiles. He argued that Pakistan was developing short range missiles which were not good enough to hit deep inside India. He said that `we have the bomb but we can’t deliver it`. Benazir was again shocked, but agreed for a short trip to North Korea on her way back.

She discussed Khan’s proposal to her then Counsel – Hussain Haqqani. He advised her not to fall in the trap of Security establishment but Bhutto did not want to cross Army’s way again. She tried earlier during her first term as the PM and she was accused of being a threat to the national security and her government was dismissed. Bhutto did not want that to happen again. She claimed that she believed that missile deal would be against cash and had no clue about Army and Khan’s plan to exchange nuclear technology instead.

Bhutto flew to Pyongyong on 29 Dec 1993 and during the dinner, a nervous Benazir leaned over North Korean dictator and said “Give my country Nodong missile’s blue prints, we need those missiles”. Kim stared at her while she repeated the request. After a few moments’ silence, he agreed.

Bhutto came back with a bag full of technical papers and disks.

Soon Pak Army and Khan got what they wanted – Nodong missiles. They repainted the missile hurriedly and test fired it. Dr Shafiq, son of Brig Sajawal who was in-charge of facilities administration of KRL, revealed to Adrian Levy and Catherine that `there was so much excitement that no one cared to notice that paint on the missile was still wet`.

Leading newspaper The Guardian had reported the same while quoting David Wright, the co-director of the global security programme at the Union of Concerned Scientists “The first result was the Ghauri, a missile with a range of 1,500kms (930 miles). Basically, it was a repainted North Korean missile.”

An evil deal had started where Pakistan’s Uranium Enrichment technology was being exchanged for North Korean missile technology and some “cash”.

In 1995, former US ambassador to Pakistan Robert Oakley (mentioned above) held a conference in Washington where he invited three persons from Pakistan – (i) former vice-chief Gen (R) Arif, (ii) Mr. Agha Murtaza Poya – Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper `The Muslim` and (iii) famous Pakistani journalist and editor of `The Friday Times`, Najam Sethi. During the conference, Oakley surprised all of them by showing photos of Pakistani Air Force’s C-130 planes unloading centrifuges and loading Nodong missile components. But Pak again denied conducting any such exchange.

Soon there was plenty of other proof. Khan and PAF C-130s started making frequent trips to North Korea. CIA and other agencies tightened their grip over Pakistan’s network. The US administration could no longer resist pressure from State Department and Intelligence agencies, who were giving irrefutable proof of Pakistan Security Establishment’s (Army leadership and Khan) one stop shop that was supplying everything to North Korea, Iran and Libya – from the blue print to the actual centrifuges, technical support, bomb design and trigger mechanism.

Everything was on offer for dollars – most of the amount went to Pakistan/Pakistani Army treasury and some of it went to personal pockets. In 2011, Washington Post reported that Khan had released a copy of a letter from a North Korean official, dated 1998. The letter had details of the transfer of $3 million to former Pakistani army chief Jehangir Karamat and $500,000 plus some jewellery to another military official, Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Khan.

Finally in 2002, the US officially announced that they had proof that Pakistan/AQ Khan’s network had exported the centrifugal technology to North Korea. But Pakistani President Musharraf did not hand over Khan for any investigation. When pressure kept mounting, the Pakistani Security Establishment persuaded Khan to take the sole responsibility in country’s “national interests”. Khan was assured that there would be no trial, no one would be allowed to question him and at most, he would be under house arrest. The rest is history.

But the Pakistan-North Korea cooperation never stopped. As per Sunday Guardian report, some sources suspect that North Korea is conducting nuclear tests for Pakistan to provide vital data to Pakistan. This crucial data is needed to perfect the tactical nuclear weapon designs and their mating with the North Korean missiles.

Interestingly China, the mentor and major supporter of both these countries, came out as the main beneficiary of this game. In early 1990s, China had refused to provide M-11 missiles to Pakistan as it was normalizing its relations with the United States and was hoping to sign trade agreements to transfer manufacturing from the US to China. But China had earlier provided nuclear bomb design to Pakistan and never stopped North Korea or Pakistan to fulfil each other’s needs. Now both his main allies are threatening his arch enemies – the United States and India.

Iran-Korea Prepare to Nuke the US (Daniel 8)

Iran nuclear weapons

Iran set for NUKE LAUNCH in chilling warning to Europe and US

IRAN could be on the brink of firing a nuclear weapon capable of smashing Europe and the United States, it has been horrifyingly warned.


Rachel O’Donoghue /

The Director of US National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, briefed the country’s senate on the risk the Islamic Republic poses with its ballistic missile programme in violation of UN resolutions.

Mr Coats said Iran is continually improving the range and power of its ballistic missiles in the hopes it will be able to develop a nuclear-capable one that could hit American soil.

He said: “We judge that Tehran would choose ballisti

c missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons if it builds them.”

“Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons”

Daniel Coats, Director of US National Intelligence

It is thought Iran is using its space program to develop its ICBM technology as a successful launch is similar for both satellites and missiles.

Mr Coats added: “Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies.

“Iran is pursuing capabilities to meet its nuclear energy and technology goals and to give it the capability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons if it chooses to do so.”

It comes just days after Iran fired a high-speed torpedo in the Straight of Hormuz – described by US officials as a key shipping route and the world’s most “strategically important choke points”.

Korea-Iran Connection

On May 2, 2017, the Iranian military conducted a missile test from a Ghadir-class submarine in the Strait of the Hormuz. Even though the missile test failed, the close similarities between Iran’s Ghadir-class submarine and North Korea’s Yono-class miniature submarine alarmed Western policymakers. Many U.S. defense experts have argued that Iran’s missile test was proof of continued Tehran-Pyongyang military cooperation, despite repeated attempts by the United States to isolate the DPRK regime.

Even though there was considerable optimism that the July 2015 ratification of the Iran nuclear deal would halt Tehran’s long-standing military cooperation with North Korea, Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to rely on North Korean military technology. Iran’s ongoing cooperation with North Korea can be explained by a shared distrust of U.S. diplomatic overtures and the common belief that countries have a right to develop self-defense mechanisms without external interference.

Technology Sharing between Iran and North Korea since the 2015 Nuclear Deal

While media coverage on Iran-North Korea military cooperation has focused principally on technician exchanges between the two countries and nuclear cooperation, ballistic missile development has been the most consistent area of Tehran-Pyongyang technological cooperation since the Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015. This collaboration explains the striking similarities between Iranian EMAD and North Korean Rodong missiles.

Even though parallel missile developments are powerful indicators of collaboration between Iran and North Korea, American and Israeli analysts have intensely debated the nature of the Tehran-Pyongyang partnership. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has been one of the most outspoken proponents of the view that Iran-North Korea cooperation is largely transactional. In a recent interview, Bolton declared that if North Korea gets nuclear missiles, “Iran could have that capability the next day” because of Tehran’s long-standing defense contracts with the DPRK and Pyongyang’s desperate need for hard currency.

While the DPRK’s dire economic situation can explain some dimensions of the Iran-North Korea military partnership, there is compelling evidence that Tehran-Pyongyang ballistic missile technology cooperation is a more mutual exchange than many U.S. policymakers have assumed.

Israeli defense analyst Tal Inbar recently noted that Iran purchased North Korea’s technical know-how on ballistic missile production, upgraded the DPRK missiles’ forward section, and distributed these advancements back to North Korea. The similarities between North Korean missiles launched during recent tests and Iranian technology suggests that Iran is a possible contributor to North Korea’s nuclear buildup, rather than a mere transactional partner.

Even though Iran’s technology-sharing partnership with North Korea is widely stigmatized, there is a compelling strategic rationale for Tehran’s continued military exchange with Pyongyang. Should Iran successfully test a missile on a North Korean-style miniature submarine, Tehran’s ability to threaten U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz would increase greatly. The Yono-class submarine’s undetectability helped the DPRK sink South Korea’s ROKS Cheonan ship in 2010. Iran’s possession of similar naval capabilities strengthened by sophisticated ballistic missiles would greatly increase the costs of a U.S. military confrontation with Tehran.

Iran’s successful utilization of North Korea’s BM-25 Musudan missile system could also profoundly impact the regional balance of power. As the head of the U.S. military in the Pacific, Admiral Harry Harris, recently noted, Washington’s adherence to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty prevents it from developing short- and medium-range missile deterrents to neutralize Iran’s missile developments.

Should Iran resolve the problems that unraveled its July 2016 test of North Korean missile technology and gain a 2,500-mile strike range, Tehran’s ability to militarily challenge Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States will strengthen considerably. This prospect explains why Iran views its partnership with North Korea as an integral component of its broader strategy to reshape the balance of power in the Middle East.

Normative Solidarity Between Iran and North Korea

In addition to the strategic benefits of aligning with Pyongyang, Iran’s continued military cooperation with North Korea is founded in deep-rooted normative solidarity between the two countries. This solidarity is rooted in the shared belief that countries have the right to decide what level of defensive capacity is appropriate for them, without external interference or aggressive deterrence.

The synergy between Iran and the DPRK on national self-defense rights is rooted in both countries’ shared perception of the United States as a security threat. On February 3, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif defended Iran’s ballistic missile program, by insisting that it was a defensive reaction to aggressive threats from the United States. Iranian diplomats also frequently cite the United States’ military support for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War as proof that Iran needs defensive capabilities of unassailable strength to maintain its sovereignty.

North Korea has framed its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in similarly defensive terms. In a January 2016 public statement from the DPRK’s official news agency, KCNA, the North Korean government defended its nuclear test as a necessary measure to prevent its leaders from succumbing to the fates of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi. The North Korean state media has also justified its weapons buildup by arguing that the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea is a compelling indicator of an imminent joint U.S.-ROK invasion of Pyongyang.

In addition to invoking their national rights to self-defense, the Iranian and DPRK governments have also highlighted double standards in the international community’s responses to states possessing nuclear weapons. In particular, Iran and North Korea have been stridently critical of Washington’s willingness to accept Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, even though many world leaders argue that Israel’s nuclear arsenal poses a threat to regional and international stability.

Even though the 2015 Iran nuclear deal initially sparked optimism in the United States about the viability of a grand bargain to denuclearize North Korea, recent actions by the Iranian and DPRK militaries have effectively extinguished this prospect. If Iran-United States relations continue to worsen under Trump and Iran continues to upgrade its ballistic missile capabilities with DPRK technology, the Tehran-Pyongyang military nexus will remain an intractable security challenge for U.S. policymakers for years to come.

Samuel Ramani is a DPhil candidate in International Relations at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is also a journalist who contributes regularly to the Washington Post and Huffington Post. He can be followed on Twitter at samramani2 and on Facebook at Samuel Ramani.