Beijing has spared no expense to ensure that the military parade and mass pageant planned for October 1 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China are both spectacular and free from security snafus.
Goose-stepping out: China’s Oct. 1 military parade will showcase some of its most advanced military hardware, perhaps intended to send a signal to foreign observers. The parade will include flatbed trucks carrying a range of short- and long-range missiles, including intercontinental DF-31 nuclear missiles capable of striking Washington and sea-skimming YJ-83 anti-ship missiles capable of hitting targets in Taiwan. Below, People’s Liberation Army soldiers perform a rehearsal drill.
Monthly Archives: September 2009
Despite tough talk from Washington, China needs Iran’s oil too much to support sanctions that might actually bite.
But the kind of sanctions that would really hit Iran’s economy – sanctions against its energy industry – are thought to be off the table because China and other nations are too reliant on Iran’s oil.
As the West raises the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Arab governments, especially the small, oil-rich nations in the Persian Gulf, are growing increasingly anxious. But they are concerned not only with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran but also with the more immediate threat that Iran will destabilize the region if the West presses too hard, according to diplomats, regional analysts and former government officials.
Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Weapons Factory In 3D
Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei regards Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons, but Israel maintains a policy known as “nuclear ambiguity” (also known as “nuclear opacity”). Israel has never officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, instead repeating over the years that it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East, leaving ambiguous whether it means it will not create or will not use the weapons.
Israel began investigating the nuclear field just one year after its 1948 founding and with French support secretly began building a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant in the late 1950s. Although Israel first built a nuclear weapon in 1967-68, it was not publicly confirmed from the inside until Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician, revealed details of the program to the British press in 1986. Israel is currently believed to possess between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads with the ability to deliver them by ground, aircraft, and submarine.
Israel first showed interest in procuring nuclear materials in 1949, when a unit of the Israel Defense Forces Science Corps, known by the Hebrew acronym HEMED GIMMEL, carried out a two year geological survey of the Negev. While a preliminary study was initially prompted by rumors of petroleum fields, one objective of the longer two year survey was to find sources of uranium; some small recoverable amounts were found in phosphate deposits. That same year, HEMED GIMMEL funded six Israeli physics graduate students to study overseas, including one to go to the University of Chicago and study under Enrico Fermi, who had overseen the world’s first artificial and self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
In early 1952 HEMED GIMMEL was moved from the IDF to the Ministry of Defense and was reorganized as the Division of Research and Infrastructure (EMET). That June, Ernst David Bergmann, the chief of research at the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s scientific advisor, was appointed by Ben-Gurion to be the first chairman of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC). HEMED GIMMEL was renamed Machon 4 during the transfer, and was used by Bergmann as the “chief laboratory” of the IAEC; by 1953, Machon 4, working with the Department of Isotope Research at the Weizmann Institute, developed the capability to extract uranium from the phosphate in the Negev and new technique to produce indigenous heavy water. Bergmann, who was interested in increasing nuclear cooperation with the French, sold both patents to the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA) for 60 million francs. Although they were never commercialized, it was a consequential step for future French-Israeli cooperation. In addition, Israeli scientists probably helped construct the G-1 plutonium production reactor and UP-1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule. France and Israel had close relations in many areas. France was principal arms supplier for the young Jewish state, and as instability spread through French colonies in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained from contacts with sephardic Jews in those countries. At the same time Israeli scientists were also observing France’s own nuclear program, and were the only foreign scientists allowed to roam “at will” at the nuclear facility at Marcoule.
After US President Dwight Eisenhower announced the Atoms for Peace initiative, Israel became the second country to sign on (following Turkey), and signed a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States on 12 July 1955. This culminated in a public signing ceremony on 20 March 1957 to construct a “small swimming-pool research reactor in Nachal Soreq,” which would be used to shroud the construction of a much larger facility with the French at Dimona.
The Obama administration’s talks with Iran—set to take place tomorrow in Geneva—are accompanied by an almost universally accepted misconception: that previous American administrations refused to negotiate with Iranian leaders. The truth, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said last October at the National Defense University, is that “every administration since 1979 has reached out to the Iranians in one way or another and all have failed.”
Iran broke international law by not disclosing sooner its recently revealed uranium enrichment site, the head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency said.
But the U.N. does not have credible evidence that Iran has an operational nuclear weapons program, Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday.
Universities start the academic year with angry demonstrations against Ahmadinejad.
Hundreds of students shouting anti-government slogans took to the streets of Tehran and other cities Monday in another sign that Iran’s opposition is still active, despite arrests and allegations of state torture and rape.
Deep-cover MI6 agents who found the previously secret underground uranium enrichment plant near the Iranian holy city of Qom have discovered a staggering five more similar plants.
They, like the Qom facility, are buried deep inside the mountains of north Iran and are guarded by divisions of Revolutionary Guards.
The details have been sent this weekend to some officials attending the G20 summit in Pittsburgh when the Qom facility was revealed to the world.
The treaty was signed by Iran in 1968 under the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza. It aims, as outlined in its preamble, at “further easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between states.” Its purpose is thus to stabilize the international system. The Islamic Republic, though, wants to abolish this “Satanic” secular world order and replace it with a Sharia-based system of Islamic rule. “The struggle will continue,” promised Ayatollah Khomeini, “until the calls ‘There Is No God but God’ and ‘Muhammad Is the Messenger of God’ are echoed all over the world.” The atom program is part of this revolutionary quest. “Iran’s nuclearization,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his supporters, “is the beginning of a very great change in the world.” It would “be placed at the service of those who are determined to confront the bullying powers and aggressors.”
Reports are that one-third of our 450 land-based missiles may be eliminated under some plans being considered. Given that our submarine and bomber bases number only four, and submarines at sea also number four, we are essentially making it dramatically easier for an enemy to strike at America’s nuclear forces in a crisis. Remember, today China is building fleets of new ballistic missiles. And Russia is building a new multiple warhead land based missile, a new nuclear cruise missile and submarine based missile. At 1,500-1,675 warheads, the range of weapons being discussed by the United Statesand Russia, Russia can maintain a fully modern arsenal and only have to retire systems which are obsolete.