NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 2 March, 2001

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"NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 2 March, 2001", NAPSNet Weekly Report, March 02, 2001,

Nuclear Weapons

1. Iraqi Nuclear Program

The London Sunday Times reported that two former senior scientists in the Iraqi nuclear program stated that Iraq carried out a successful nuclear test before the Gulf war and now has a nuclear stockpile. They said that a nuclear test was carried out southwest of Baghdad in September 1989 and that, despite UN inspections, further tests have been carried out and Iraq now has several bombs stored in a bunker north of Baghdad. These claims challenge the consensus among the US, British and Israeli intelligence services that Iraq does not have sufficient enriched uranium or plutonium to build a nuclear bomb. Israeli military sources say that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has ordered Shaul Mofaz, the Army chief of staff, to prepare the army for a pre-emptive attack using tactical neutron bombs on Iraq’s missile launch zone in the event that intelligence reports say a non-conventional weapons attack by Iraq is imminent.

“Defectors Say Iraq Tested Nuclear Bomb”
“Text Only”

2. UK Nuclear Program

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published in its January/February 2001 edition an essay by Richard Moore in which Moore describes the early years of the British nuclear program, including how the UK began in 1960 to deploy British tactical nuclear weapons overseas on Royal Navy aircraft carriers, and at Royal Air Force bases. By 1960 the RAF was involved in drawing up nuclear targeting plans for use by the South East Asia Treaty Organization and had made plans to move 48 Red Beard tactical nuclear weapons to Singapore in 1962. Moore reports that overseas deployment was only ended in 1998. Moore concludes by questioning the Britain’s transparency in the deployment of its nuclear weapons overseas, but notes that at most, Britain only had 75 overseas at any time and had never cleared an aircraft to take-off with a live nuclear weapon.
“Where Her Majesty’s weapons were”

3. US Nuclear Program

According to the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the modernization of US nuclear forces continues, with upgrades underway to all major nuclear weapon systems. The Minuteman III ICBM is in the middle of a multi-billion dollar modernization program, four Pacific-based strategic submarines are being upgrade from Trident I to the longer range and more accurate Trident II missile, a new “modified” Trident II missile is under development, and the air force has begun development of a new strategic bomber. The Notebook discloses that although the B-1 bomber is widely reported to have been converted to a conventional-only role, the air force maintains a “nuclear role plan” under which the aircraft can quickly be returned to nuclear roles. The Notebook also reveals that some of the new Joint Strike Fighters currently under development by the Pentagon will be equipped to delivery nuclear bombs. Finally, after a pause of nearly a decade the U.S. has resumed production of new plutonium cores for nuclear warheads.
“Nuclear Notebook Shows Modernization of U.S. Nuclear Forces”


1. PRC Aid to Iraq

The Washington Post reported that the PRC Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was ready to investigate US complaints that a PRC company and its technicians may have assisted Iraq in rebuilding its air defenses. PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said, “Regarding the situation raised by the U.S. side, China can conduct an investigation.” The PRC’s willingness to investigate was seen as an acknowledgment that the government does not have control over all of the country’s companies.
“China Willing To Probe Allegations”
“China Shifts Stance, May Probe U.S. Claims That It Assisted Iraq”
“PRC Alleged Assistance to Iraq” (NAPSNet Week in Review, March 2)

The Los Angeles Times reported that US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the US is pressing the PRC to explain reports that its workers, violating international sanctions against Baghdad, installed equipment that helped the Iraqi military better target allied air patrols. US and UN officials said there is no PRC-made telecommunications equipment approved for use in Iraq for any purposes, suggesting that the importation of fiber-optics would violate sanctions. A US government official said, “The denials have been very thin, with no attempt to address it in detail.”
“U.S. Pushes for Response From China”

Missile Defense

1. US Budget Statements

US President George W. Bush unveiled an outline of the future US government budget this week. He said, “To protect our own people, our allies and friends, we must develop and we must deploy effective missile defenses. And as we transform our military, we can discard Cold War relics and reduce our own nuclear forces to reflect today’s needs.” US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today confirmed that the Bush administration will devote $1 billion in research and development money in fiscal year 2002 into developing missile defense technologies.
“‘Courage in a Time of Blessing'”
“Bush’s Plans for the Pentagon Include Base Closings and Money for Missile Defenses”
“Rumsfeld Says $1 Billion Will Boost Missile Defense R&D”

John Isaacs of the Council for a Livable World wrote a brief analysis of the FY2002 US defense budget. Isaacs noted that the new budget will be nearly 95% of average Cold War spending level, and the request includes $2.6 billion for research and development initiatives, at least a billion of which is for missile defense, including a national missile defense.

2. Russia Missile Defense Proposal

Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, both Senior Fellows at the Brookings Institution, published an editorial in the New York Times in which they argued in favor of the US pursuing a Russian proposed joint missile defense program by Russia and NATO. They argue that this would address Europe’s two main worries that the US missile defense program could trigger a new cold war with Russia and that it would signify an US search for unilateral advantage. They further argue that the Bush administration should demand that Russia stop selling nuclear and missile technologies to third countries. They conclude with the argument that since earth-based boost-phase defenses would counter neither Russian or American nuclear missiles in particular, they are consistent with the 1972 ABM Treaty’s fundamental purpose of preventing either country from nullifying the other’s nuclear deterrent.
“Russia Can Be Our Ally on Missile Defense”

The US Defense Department said it was prepared to examine a Russian proposal for a European missile defense system. While noting it was sketchy on detail and only addresses the anti-missile needs of Europe and not for the US, Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley stated, “We are very heartened by the fact that the Russians, by this action, acknowledge that there is a very real missile and WMD (weapons of mass destruction) threat to Europe.”
“Pentagon Says it Will Give Russian Proposal on European Missile Defense “An Honest Look”

3. US-Russia Talks

US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Egypt and agreed that arms control experts from both countries should meet soon to discuss sharp differences in their competing missile defense plans. In addition to deciding upon a resumption of talks by arms control negotiators over the 1972 ABM Treaty, they also discussed economic sanctions imposed on Iraq and Russia’s war in Chechnya. Michael McFaul of Stanford University and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said “They’re exhausted with us–and we with them. In Washington, the attitude now is ‘Let’s do NMD [national missile defense], and if the Russians go along, fine. If not, do we really care?’ But the Russian plan doesn’t necessarily mean they’re prepared to acquiesce. Far from it.” Dmitri V. Trenin, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said, “A lot of people in Russia, especially among the top brass and in state security bodies, feel angry and embittered over the fact that people in the new U.S. administration act and talk as if they have already discarded Russia.”
“Powell, Russian Say Arms Experts Should Meet”
“‘Excellent’ Talks Belie Chill in U.S.-Russia Relationship”

4. Russia-ROK Statements on ABM Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week described the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as the “root and trunk” of world security. Putin said, “Any attempts to change the treaty will shake the strategic root and trunk of world peace and security.” Putin’s remarks were made nearly simultaneously to remarks made by US President George W. Bush before Congress: “To protect our own people, our allies and friends, we must develop and we must deploy effective missile defenses.” The ROK has not taken a public position on the US project, with some ROK analysts worried that it could disrupt its fragile rapprochement with the DPRK. However, the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade denied that a joint statement released Tuesday by President Kim Dae-jung and Putin revealed a stand on missile defense. Russian Lieutenant General Vyacheslav Romanov also accused the US of violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and threatened retaliatory measures if the nation withdraws from the ABM treaty. He said, “If we run into facts of unilateral violations of the ABM treaty, Russia may review other international treaties concerning strategic weapons.”
“Putin Remarks on Nuke Treaty”
“Putin Praises 1972 Nuclear Treaty”
“Foreign Statements on NMD: ROK, PRC, Japan” (NAPSNet Week In Review, March 2)

The Korea Times reported that a ROK senior government official stated that the ROK had consulted with the US on the contents of the Korea-Russia Joint statement ahead of its issuance. The official said, “Washington didn’t object to the part in it that supports the U.S.-Russia Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty jointly with Russia.” ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Euy-taek said that the ROK was sympathetic to US motives for planning a missile defense system. ROK Foreign Minister Lee Joung-binn said the demise of the Cold War a decade ago required a “different approach” to global security, and he said, “An answer to how to cope with these new threats should be provided by the United States.” [Ed. Note: The Korea Times article was included in the US Department of Defense’s Early Bird news service for MARCH 2.]
“South Korea Talks Missile Defense”
“US Okayed Controversial ABM Statement”
“”South Korea Now Pulls Back From Russia on Missile Shield”

5. Missile Defense Debate

David E. Mosher, a nuclear policy Analyst at Rand, and Lowell H. Schwartz, a Research Programmer at Rand, argue in a commentary in the Los Angeles Times that the debate over missile defense has focused on Russia because of the 1972 ABM Treaty and upon emerging threats like the DPRK and Iran, but has overlooked the PRC. They describe possible routes the PRC missile modernization program could take, drawing parallels to the Soviet push to bridge the missile gap, in which the USSR went from 4 inter-continental ballistic missiles in 1960 to 1,200 in 1970. They cite a 1997 statement by then-Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, who reported that the PRC would have “the industrial capacity, though not necessarily the intent, to produce a large number, as many as a thousand, new missiles within the next decade,” and that most of these would be short- and medium-range, the PRC could choose to focus more intently on long-range missiles.
“The China and Nuclear Reunion Is Only a Motive Away”


1. Russian Nuclear Policy

Nikolai Sokov writes in a recent analysis for the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterrey Institute that greater reliance on nuclear weapons has become a staple feature of Russian defense strategy, especially in the aftermath of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that vividly demonstrated Russia’s limited capability to resist a highly superior conventional force. Sokov cites the NATO report that Russia had redeployed tactical nuclear weapons to its Kaliningrad base and “de-escalation maneuvers” conducted using air-launched long-range missiles from Tu-95MS or Tu-160 heavy bombers and from Tu-22M3medium bombers. Sokov describes a number of scenarios more plausible for tactical nuclear weapons than those involving Kaliningrad and offered by the Washington Times, but which all point to a need to pay greater attention to the threat tactical nuclear weapons pose.
“The “Tactical Nuclear Weapons Scare” of 2001″

2. US Nuclear Posture Review

Richard D. Sokolsky argues in a paper for the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., that while the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review will need to decide whether to continue the Cold War-style strategic arms reduction process or explore alternatives for reducing nuclear threats to national security, the traditional arms control process has outlived its utility and new US strategic priorities will require changes in the ends and means of arms control policy. Sokolsky argues that because of the need for more flexible policies, the US and Russia should pursue deeper reductions in strategic nuclear forces through unilateral and parallel unilateral measures.
“Renovating U.S. Strategic Arms Control Policy”

M. Elaine Bunn and Richard D. Sokolsky write that the forthcoming Strategic Posture Review (SPR) needs to fundamentally reassess the purposes of nuclear weapons, missile defenses, and the requirements of deterrence and stability in the new security environment. They state that many previous reviews which focused on near-term programmatic, budgetary, arms control, and political pressures. They argue that the new review should develop a comprehensive conceptual framework to decide on the size, composition, and posture of strategic offensive and defensive forces that integrates new assessments of deterrence and stability over the next 10-20 years.
“The U.S. Strategic Posture Review: Issues for the New Administration”

Arms Control

1. South Asia

Hui Zhang wrote in Himal Magazine that despite pressure upon India and Pakistan accede to the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to maintain the moratorium on testing, observe a moratorium on fissile material production for weapons, and strengthen their non-proliferation export control measures, both countries continue adding to their stocks of fissile materials and are engaging in a missile race. Hui Xhang uses satellite imagery as evidence of the continuing South Asian nuclear programs and examines specifically what this imagery can tell us about India and Pakistan. Zhang argues that commercial satellite imagery can be used to monitor nuclear production sites and therefore be used to verify international treaties, but that existing nuclear powers must also devalue their own nuclear forces by not producing missile defense systems and by agreeing to drastic arms cuts.
“India, Pakistan and Nuclear Confidence”

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