2003 January 13 Monday
Turkey Being Tempted By Iran, Saudis, Others?

Debka says Turkey is shopping around for a better deal on Iraq's fate from other countries.

DEBKAfile’s sources in the Persian Gulf reveal that the question the Turkish prime minister privately posed Arab leaders, including Saddam Hussein, was this: Was Turkey’s unwavering resistance to Washington’s demands worth a comparable level of aid to that pledged by the US for taking part in the war, namely $4-6 billion? The Turkish prime minister topped his question up by asking for a further $4-5 billion, to be allocated over the next two to three years.

According to our Gulf sources, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed in principle to put up or guarantee the money. Saddam’s reply is unknown.

Will Turkey turn down the US request for use of Turkish bases in an attack on Iraq? Its possible. But if Turkey does so and the US goes thru with the attack anyhow then Turkey will be left with no US aid. Will the Iranians and Saudis still give Turkey aid to make up for it even if the Turkish refusal to help the US doesn't prevent the US from removing Saddam from power? After such an attack the US would make sure that Turkey had no influence in northern Iraq and might go thru with creating a highly autonomous Kurdish state loosely confederated with the Iraqi central government in Baghdad. The US can play hardball during negotiations with the Turks by threatening to do that.

Consider the larger context. Debka's been claiming for a few months now that hundreds of Iraqi nuclear scientists are at work in an underground Libyan complex at Kufra Oasis. Debka also claims that North Korean nuclear weapons development equipment has been shipped to Iran where it is making enriched materials for nuclear weapons manufacture for Iran and North Korea. Are these rumours plausible? Well, more mainstream sources are reporting that Pakistan and North Korea have cooperated in nuclear weapons development. The Washington Post reported in November 2002 that North Korea and Pakistan were doing nuclear technology exchanges as recently as the summer of 2002.

While the administration has taken a hard line against North Korea, demanding that it verify it has dismantled its efforts to enrich uranium before U.S. officials engage in further discussions with the communist state, it has taken a much softer tack against Pakistan. Publicly, officials have suggested that if Pakistan, a key ally in the war against terrorism, had provided help to North Korea in the past, it changed its behavior after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.

But in reality, U.S. officials say, the administration believes Pakistan continued to trade nuclear technical knowledge, designs and possibly material in exchange for missile parts up until this summer, when the administration concluded North Korea was secretly trying to construct a facility to enrich uranium for a bomb. Administration officials would not discuss the extent of the evidence, but they said it involves highly suspicious shipping trade.

Also, Russia of course has been selling nuclear technology to Iran and Iran can afford to pay because it produces a lot of oil. In turn that means Iran has additional technology to use to trade with other countries which are also pursuing nuclear weapons development. The countries that are trying to develop WMD have plenty of incentives to cooperate with each other to trade technology and materials.. At the same time, they have incentives to try to protect each other from US reprisals. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other regimes have motives to offer Turkey money to try to protect Iraq from a US attack.

Another piece of context is the latest Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2001. See, for instance, the Iran section of that report.

China is completing assistance on two Iranian nuclear projects: a small research reactor and a zirconium production facility at Esfahan that will enable Iran to produce cladding for reactor fuel.[1] As a party to the NPT, Iran is required to accept IAEA safeguards on its nuclear material. The IAEA's Additional Protocol requires states to declare production of zirconium fuel cladding and gives the IAEA the right of access to resolve questions or inconsistencies related to the declarations, but Iran has made no moves to bring the Additional Protocol into force. Zirconium production, other than production of fuel cladding, is not subject to declaration or inspection.

Ballistic missile–related cooperation from entities in the former Soviet Union, North Korea, and China over the years has helped Iran move toward its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of ballistic missiles. Such assistance during the reporting period has included equipment, technology, and expertise. Iran, already producing Scud short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), is in the late stages of developing the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). In addition, Iran publicly has acknowledged the development of follow-on versions of the Shahab-3. It originally said that another version, the Shahab-4, is a more capable ballistic missile than its predecessor but later characterized it as solely a space launch vehicle with no military applications. Iran's Defense Minister has also publicly mentioned a "Shahab-5." Such statements strongly suggest that Tehran intends to develop a longer-range ballistic missile capability.

China does not want to see the North Korean regime fall. China doesn't see North Korean nuclear missiles as a threat to China. At the same time, China is helping some of the same regimes do nuclear proliferation that North Korea is helping. There are more connections. Saudi Arabia is rumoured to have funded Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program. Jim Hoagland thinks Pakistan might be willing to sell nukes to Saudi Arabia.

A bunch of regimes are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction so that they can be free of US pressure and so that they can then in turn pursue their own strategies to apply pressure for their own ends. Given enough regimes in possession of nuclear weapons and with some of those regimes willing to sell nuclear technology and perhaps even nuclear weapons the ability to trace the clandestine movement of nuclear weapons would become impossible. The ability to even identify the origin of a nuclear weapon used against a Western city would become highly doubtful.

The Trends section of the latest CIA WMD proliferation report summarizes all the ominous trends that are causing the accelerating failure of efforts to block WMD proliferation. (my emphases added)

Some key WMD and missile programs are becoming more advanced and effective as they mature and as countries of concern become more aggressive in pursuing a range of technologies.

Key WMD proliferators are taking steps toward becoming more self-sufficient. They are better able to shield their programs against interdiction and disruption. To this end, they are seeking greater indigenous capabilities, including more advanced production technologies. Such domestic capabilities may not always be a good substitute for foreign imports, but in many cases they may prove to be adequate.

Furthermore, many WMD and missile proliferators are becoming more adept at denial and deception efforts, including hiding transactions and using dual-use technology and underground facilities in indigenous developments. For example, they are pursuing dual-use materials and technologies with WMD as well as legitimate applications that can be incorporated into commercial facilities and converted to WMD uses fairly quickly.

Under economic pressure, the need for lucrative foreign sales is a strong incentive to supplying entities, particularly in the case of dual-use items and technology. Weak export-control enforcement in some countries such as Russia and China encourages this trend. Furthermore, some traditional recipients of WMD and missile-related technology, particularly maturing state-sponsored programs, are beginning to supply technology and expertise to other proliferators. Such "secondary proliferators" as India, Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan are not members of control regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime and do not adhere to their export constraints.

Nuclear, chemical, biological, and ballistic missile-applicable technology and expertise continues to gradually disperse worldwide. Nuclear fuel-cycle and weapons-related technologies have spread to the point that from a technical standpoint, additional proliferators may be able to produce sufficient fissile material for a weapon and to develop the capability to weaponize it. On the other hand, important political disincentives to nuclear weapon development will remain in place for most countries. As developing countries expand their chemical industries into pesticide production, they also are advancing toward at least latent chemical warfare capability. Likewise, additional nonstate actors are becoming more interested in the potential of using biological warfare as a relatively inexpensive way to inflict serious damage. The proliferation of increasingly capable ballistic missile designs and technology poses the threat of more countries of concern eventually breaching the 1,000-km range of SRBMs and posing greater risks to regional stability.

Finally, most countries of proliferation concern are continuing efforts to develop indigenous designs for advanced conventional weapons and to expand production capabilities, although most of these programs usually rely heavily on foreign technical assistance. Many of these countries -- unable to obtain newer or more advanced arms -- are pursuing upgrade programs for existing inventories. In addition, some of the recipient countries, such as Iran, have in turn become suppliers to those countries and entities that are unable to purchase weapons elsewhere.

All of these events and trends are driving the debate in Washington DC about nuclear proliferation. In the face of copious quantities of evidence to the contrary some such as Jon Wolfsthal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace still think that traditional methods of trying to prevent WMD proliferation can work. However, the other school of thought argues that only military force can prevent any number of additional monsters from escaping from Pandora's Box.

According to Wolfsthal, two schools of thought currently dominate the Washington discussion of weapons proliferation.

The first says that non-proliferation efforts have failed and the number of states developing non-conventional weapons is out of control. Proponents of this view argue that the best hope is to try and eliminate dangerous regimes that are pursuing WMD, possibly through military force.

The more traditional view, held by Wolfsthal and others, is that while non-proliferation efforts are not perfect, they have succeeded in many cases.

The spread of knowledge and dual use technologies combined with greater coordination between WMD developers and the financial wherewithal provided by oil money are combining to make the traditional tools for WMD proliferation control woefully inadequate. If Gulf states really are trying to buy Turkey's outright opposition to a US attack on Iraq then that is another demonstration of just how high the stakes have gotten. There is no way for the United States to defend itself to prevent terrorist WMD attacks if WMD become easily available to terrorist groups. Can we trust Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other countries to never turn over WMD to terrorist groups? Can we trust that no internal faction within one of those countries won't just steal WMD and hand them over to terrorist groups? Can we trust that North Korea won't become Nuclear KMark selling nuclear weapons to the highest bidder or that Pakistan will not sell nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia? I do not believe our cities will be safe if WMD proliferation continues and I do not believe that anything short of military force can prevent the spread of WMD. Technological trends and political trends (eg the collapse of the Soviet Union) are shifting the playing field in favor of the proliferators. More powerful counterbalancing tools are needed.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 January 13 08:54 PM  US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment


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