First Terrorist Bomb-Belts Reach Europe
DEBKAfile Special Report
Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet, 35, alias "The Tunisian", suspected ringleader of the Madrid train bombings, was one of the terrorists who blew themselves up Saturday night in the southwestern Madrid suburb of Leganes when Spanish police closed in on their hideout. Spanish interior minister Angel Acebes said it is impossible to establish how many al Qaeda suspects were holed up in the building. They began shooting from a window at police approaching the apartment building. Special police agents prepared to storm the building when the terrorists set off a powerful explosion with several bomb belts shouting God is great in Arabic. One policeman was killed and 15 injured. Some of the suspects may have escaped under cover of the blast or before the police closed the net around the building.
Also found in the damaged apartment building were additional explosive devices and 200 detonators.
Forty apartments were evacuated and the area sealed off. Three of the terror suspects who committed suicide have been identified, but the possibility of more having taken part in the group suicide has not been ruled out. Spanish radio reported Jamal Ahmidan, 33, was among the dead. He was named in one of the six arrest warrants issued in the March 11 train bombings investigation.
This was the first time terrorists are known to have used bomb belts in Europe, also the first battle with al Qaeda to take place on the continent.
Spanish police are already holding 15 suspects in connection with the attack on the commuter trains last month. Six have been charged with mass murder and nine with collaborating with a terrorist organization. Eleven are members of the al Qaeda-linked Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.
Friday, April 2, Spain went on terror alert after a bomb was found on the Madrid-Seville high speed rail track near Toledo 10 km south of capital. The device was connected to a detonator with a 130 m cable. The Spanish army and helicopters are now guarding Spanish railway lines.
1,500-Mile Oil Pipeline Fading Fast For China
Japan Offers Russia An Alternate Route
By Peter S. Goodman
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, April 5, 2004; Page A01
BEIJING -- Last May, China's president, Hu Jintao, flew to Moscow to sign what was billed as a historic declaration of cooperation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. A day later came what seemed a tangible outgrowth of the new relationship -- the inking of a $150 billion deal that was to see the two neighbors jointly erect a 1,500-mile-long pipeline to carry crude oil from Siberia to China.
The pipeline deal was key to China's increasingly desperate need for energy to fuel its torrid industrial expansion. It underscored how the Communist Party government, once isolated and obsessed with self-sufficiency, is now increasingly engaged with the outside world, refashioning relations with previously bitter enemies in pursuit of its economic needs.
Yet since the signing ceremony, almost nothing has gone according to the Chinese plan. The Russian signatory to the deal, Yukos Oil Co., has fallen into disarray following the jailing of its chief shareholder on fraud charges. Japan, with its own need for oil, has pressed a competing proposal for a pipeline that would bypass China. Japan has extended as much as $6 billion to finance its construction, and billions of dollars more via private companies for oil exploration in eastern Siberia, according to senior government officials in Tokyo who have participated in talks with the Russian side.
Japan's largesse now appears to have captured the project, according to officials in Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow.
For China, the Siberian pipeline has disintegrated from a model of Beijing's new internationalism to a painful lesson in the complexities of the global oil market. It has reinforced how energy remains a zero-sum game: For China and Japan, whose historic enmity has lately been muted by growing trade links, the scramble for oil has sharpened a natural rivalry for resources.
In a recent interview in Beijing, Zhai Guangming, a top official at China National Petroleum Co., which signed the deal with Yukos, acknowledged that the Siberian pipeline was a fading dream.
"The plan is not happening now," he said. "The Japanese are more practical and business-oriented. That's why they can use more money to grab gas and oil. But for China, we just started the market system. It's hard for China to jump out and say we're going to pay such an enormous sum of money."
Japan's government continues to assess Russian claims about Siberian reserves, and officials stress they have yet to irrevocably commit to anything. Russia continues to study proposed routes for the pipeline and has yet to render a final decision. But several officials said Moscow has agreed in principle to build a pipeline from oilfields in eastern Siberia to the Russian port of Nakhodka, on the Sea of Japan, and not, at least not anytime soon, to the Chinese city of Daqing, as Yukos promised.
"Russia is determined to set up a pipeline route to the Asian market, and their preference seems to be clear: the Nakhodka route," said a senior Japanese official who has participated in talks with Russia.
"We are going to do something with the Russians," said Kuninori Matsuda, director of the Russian Division of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "We have told them we are ready to cooperate, including financial and technical."
In an interview with several journalists in Moscow in February, then-energy minister Igor Yusufov called the Nakhodka route "of greater strategic importance for us," adding that the proposed line to China "didn't address the problems of resource development in eastern Siberia."
Zhai, who recently briefed Premier Wen Jiabao on China's long-term energy security, said Beijing was now focused on tapping oil and gas fields in neighboring Kazakhstan to compensate for the likely loss of the Siberian crude.
The pipeline to Siberia was to have been a crucial infusion of oil -- 20 million tons of crude a year by 2010 -- at a time when China's burgeoning factories and cars are straining the supply. It would have run from Siberian fields near Angarsk, traversing country south of the giant Lake Baikal, and on to Daqing, an industrial city in northeastern China that was the birthplace of the modern Chinese oil industry. Only a decade ago, China was an oil exporter. Now, it is the third-largest importer after the United States and Japan. Beijing reckons it will need to import up to 600 million tons of oil a year by 2020, more than triple its anticipated domestic production.
The Siberian link was aimed at diminishing China's dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, the source of more than half the country's imports. China has become uneasy that the lifeblood of its economy is increasingly tied to the policing of international shipping lanes by the United States.
The Siberian pipeline idea was laden with history: Back when Beijing's relations with Moscow were defined by Communist solidarity, Moscow dispatched engineers to help develop China's oil industry. But when the two powers broke off relations in the mid-1950s, the Soviet engineers abandoned Daqing and derided the Chinese on the way out, telling them they would never manage alone. Chairman Mao Tse-tung then made the success of the project a kind of national crusade. When the work went on and the oil flowed, Daqing became a monument to China's resilience and an oft-touted source of Communist Party pride, along with a cautionary tale about reliance on its neighbor to the north.
The deal with Yukos was supposed to bury this unpleasant history. As the world's biggest oil producer, Russia has a natural interest in finding buyers nearby. Russia and China have mutual interest in improved relations to diminish the need for substantial military presence along their shared border.
But long before the Yukos deal's signing, the pipeline was plagued by fundamental problems that were apparently not fully evident to the Chinese side. Under the aggressive leadership of chief shareholder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Yukos became for a time Russia's largest producer and tested the limits of Moscow's authority. In Russia, only the state-owned Transneft has the authority to build pipelines, and its patrons in government resented Yukos trying to usurp that monopoly. Yukos executives long regarded China as a lucrative market for its eastern Siberian oil fields and hoped to spur the government to follow their company's lead.
In Moscow, the pipeline deal with China cemented the sense that Yukos was effectively conducting its own foreign policy. Perhaps more important, Russian government officials had misgivings about the Yukos proposal because it effectively tied sales of Siberian oil to a single buyer, China, giving Beijing excessive leverage over price. If a pipeline could instead reach the Pacific, running about 2,500 miles, it would allow Russia to sell crude to Japan as well as South Korea, China and perhaps refineries on the West Coast of the United States.
With this vision in mind, Russian officials had already opened a channel with Japan to discuss a pipeline to Nakhodka, an ice-free deep-water port. In February 2002, at a Tokyo conference, an official from Transneft made a speech in which he proposed such a link.
Japan, which imports virtually all its oil, was warm to the idea. Japan figured it could ship oil from Nakhodka to refineries on the Sea of Japan for less than a third of the $1.50 per barrel it costs to ship oil from the Middle East, the source of 90 percent of its present supply.
A joint Russian-Japanese pipeline project could also fulfill a broader objective for the two countries: More than a half-century after the end of World War II, Japan and Russia have yet to sign a peace treaty formally ending hostilities. They continue to squabble over competing claims to a chain of islands, the Kurils. A multibillion-dollar commercial tie-up could be used as a pretext to settle longstanding issues.
Japan's Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry began studying the project. In May 2002, Igor Yusufov, Russia's energy minister at the time, met Takeo Hiranuma, Japan's then-minister for economy and trade, at an energy conclave in Detroit and discussed the outlines of a pipeline project. That October, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi traveled to Russia and declared Japan's willingness to participate.
The landmark came in January 2003, when at a Moscow summit Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi officially agreed that the pipeline "would greatly contribute to regional development, the stabilization of the international energy markets, and enhancement of energy security in the Asia-Pacific region." Sources said Koizumi offered no financial commitments, but signaled a willingness to make capital available.
The details emerged as a series of high-level Japanese delegations traveled to Moscow: The government-led Japan Bank for International Cooperation would supply low-interest loans for the pipeline. Japanese firms influenced heavily by the government could be relied upon to explore untapped areas of eastern Siberia, key to Russia's future development plans.
China responded to the competition from Japan by emphasizing the shorter route to Daqing. But on May 30, 2003, just two days after Yukos signed the deal with CNPC to build the Daqing pipeline, President Putin shot down that argument. "Some people say that a China route would be built more quickly and cheaply," Putin said. "But it is important to develop untapped resources in Siberia."
Environmental concerns surrounding the vast Lake Baikal also argued against the route to China, Russian sources said.
Last August, Japan and Russia convened the first of five meetings in Moscow of a working group designed to finalize plans for the project. The group is composed of officials from Japan's ministries of economy and foreign affairs and their Russian counterparts, as well as representatives from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Japanese oil companies.
For Japan, the key remaining issue is establishing that Siberia holds sufficient reserves to justify the pipeline. Japan seeks 1 million barrels of crude a day delivered to Nakhodka. Russia has said that eastern Siberia now holds proven reserves sufficient to satisfy about 80 percent of that. "Before we decide to make an investment, we have to be confident," said a Japanese official involved in the talks.
Throughout the jockeying for the pipeline, Japan has sought to play down the notion that its gain is China's loss, stressing that oil will be sold at the market price to any buyer in Nakhodka. "Of course, we expect a substantial proportion of the crude reaching Nakhodka will reach Japan, but we do not intend to monopolize it," the official said.
Yukos recently agreed to increase shipments of crude to Daqing by rail. Japanese officials say Russia is still officially studying whether it could build a spur to Daqing off the main pipeline. But officials and analysts doubt enough oil could be pumped in eastern Siberia to make such a scenario feasible. "The explored deposits are not large enough," former energy minister Yusufov said. Even if it were possible, it would not happen anytime soon, leaving China where it began -- scouring the globe for alternatives.
"It could take 10 years to produce enough oil to fill the other pipeline," said Kaname Nakano, deputy director general of Energy and Natural Resources Finance Department at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. "That is why it is such a delicate matter."
Staff writer Peter Baker contributed to this report from Moscow. Special correspondent Akiko Kashiwagi contributed from Tokyo.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company
>> WHY ASK WHY?
Some Bush Initiatives Languish In Congress
Follow-Up Missing, Lawmakers Say
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 5, 2004; Page A01
Some of President Bush's splashiest proposals are languishing in Congress even though his party controls both chambers. The main reason is not Democratic obstruction but a lack of vigorous follow-through by the administration once the initial hoopla died down, according to some Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
Proposals to bar gay marriage, rewrite immigration laws, protect Americans from anthrax bacteria and send astronauts to the moon and Mars are progressing slowly -- or not at all -- even though Bush initially endorsed them at high-visibility events.
The administration's low-energy approach to these issues contrasts sharply with its promotion of unquestioned priorities such as tax cuts and educational accountability, for which the president and his staff relentlessly marshaled public and congressional support to overcome opposition.
A White House spokesman and some Republicans defended the administration's approach, saying the president is waiting for the appropriate time to press for action on some of his initiatives, while recognizing that others may have to wait for a second term.
Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, said White House spokesman Trent Duffy, and now it is time to "let the American people, through their elected officials, decide."
"This president has a very impressive record of accomplishments," Duffy added.
Democrats say the president wants to score political points on matters he knows even a Republican-controlled Congress won't pass. Republicans say that's not the White House's motive, but even some GOP senators recently chastised the administration for providing virtually no legislative follow-up to its big immigration proposal. House Republicans agree that the immigration plan, along with some other major Bush initiatives, faces heavy odds.
Immigration reform "is considered by all a divisive issue," and "it's not going to pass this year," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.). As for Bush's motives in proposing to overhaul immigration rules in January, Davis said, "I don't know what he thought."
Regarding Bush's proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which faces stiff resistance in Congress, Davis said, "The president doesn't vote on constitutional amendments. . . . He's entitled to his opinion, and some people are scratching their heads over why he did it."
Davis added, however, that some of the stalled issues "may well be second-term items" if Bush wins reelection this fall.
Some independent analysts warn that proposing big programs, but not truly fighting for their enactment, can cut both ways politically.
"Some of these are transparently political things that the president states and doesn't follow through on," said James Thurber, director of American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. Although Bush may score initial points with targeted groups, the strategy "has the potential to backfire" if voters believe there is not a sincere effort to deliver, Thurber said.
Whatever the White House's calculations, some GOP and Democratic lawmakers express puzzlement at what they consider half-hearted efforts to advance certain initiatives. Several senators, for example, chided the administration at a March 23 Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Bush's ambitious but not yet detailed plan to make 8 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary legal status, for at least six years, as long as they are employed.
"It is going to require intense presidential leadership," Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) told an administration representative. "And so my question would be, what is the administration doing? . . . I'm at a loss to see where your intensity of debate is up here."
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) praised Bush for raising the issue of immigration reform but added, "Frankly, the president's proposal was met with all sorts of criticism from all over the political spectrum for its inadequacy or its lack of focus on one factor or another to the point that I would now say the president fell back."
"I've been around long enough to know . . . when the administration really wants something, any administration, and when they're kind of lukewarm," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.). "I'm being polite by calling it lukewarm at this point. I don't get any sense at all about real energy behind this."
Eduardo Aguirre, immigration services director at the Department of Homeland Security, told the senators: "I think the president's serious about the issue and I think the president is looking to the Congress to frame the legislation that can be brought to the administration. . . . Whether or not it's going to pass the Senate and the House, I'll leave it to you." Aguirre said the president has spoken publicly about the immigration initiative a dozen times since it was first announced, but some lawmakers and aides say Bush hasn't done enough to get the plan moving.
Bush announced his immigration plan on Jan. 7 in a White House speech before 200 Latino supporters. Although some business groups and Latino advocates hailed the initiative, a number of conservatives said it would reward those who break the law by entering the United States illegally.
Seven weeks after his immigration speech, Bush embraced an even more contentious proposal, long sought by many social conservatives: amending the constitution to bar same-sex marriages.
But the daunting campaign to achieve the amendment -- which requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, then ratification by 38 states -- shows little evidence of White House involvement. Republicans and Democrats in both houses have said they see virtually no chance of passage, yet the administration has made no overt move to jump-start the effort.
Duffy said in an interview Friday, "Congress is holding hearings, and it's moving forward." Some advocates of the constitutional amendment are giving the administration a pass for now, but are serving notice that Bush can't stay on the sidelines indefinitely. "As we get closer to a vote" in Congress, possibly by late summer, "we are hoping and expecting the president to use his persuasive abilities to get it passed," said Gary Bauer, president of the group American Values.
Another White House initiative, Project BioShield, has languished for 14 months, since Bush proposed it in his 2003 State of the Union address.
The 10-year, $6 billion program is supposed to develop vaccines and medicines to help Americans survive a bioterror attack involving agents such as anthrax bacteria.
The House overwhelmingly approved the plan, but it bogged down in the Senate, to the frustration of companies developing drugs they say show promise. A few senators have objected to various provisions, including expedited federal contracting procedures and disclosure guidelines for military personnel being vaccinated. Most of the objections have been resolved, however, and the remaining ones are minor, say Senate staffers.
Although Bush urged movement on Project BioShield in speeches in June and last month, some of its advocates question why it hasn't been enacted by a party that controls the House, Senate and White House.
The chief need is for the government to agree to buy stockpiles of an anti-anthrax drug, which is the only way to justify the cost of continuing to test and develop, said Asha M. George, managing director of the Anser Institute for Homeland Security, an Arlington think tank.
"If the administration really wants to do this, then the administration is going to have to agree to buy it," she said. Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences Inc. has tested a promising anti-anthrax drug called Abthrax but repeatedly has implored Congress or the administration to fund Project BioShield or some other plan to make the drug's development feasible.
White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said, "We're still very committed" to the project.
Another Bush initiative that drew big headlines -- his Jan. 14 call for manned missions to the moon and Mars -- fell quiet so quickly that many were left wondering how plausible it might be. Six days after the announcement, Bush delivered his 2004 State of the Union address, in which he did not mention the moon-Mars proposal.
Healy said there was no need to cite the plan in the State of the Union talk because Bush "had just given a major policy speech on it." Some Democrats see a more partisan explanation.
"There are a lot of instances where they make a political point when they don't want to push it legislatively," said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). For example, he said, Bush looks "compassionate" by calling for extending unemployment benefits, but he doesn't press Congress to actually authorize the funding for it, so he can claim a "conservative" budget.
Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.
? 2004 The Washington Post Company
Pyongyang Willing to Abandon Nuclear Program
A possible change in North Korea's stance has been detected as Pyongyang says it is willing to give up all of its nuclear facilities including those for peaceful purposes. North Korea is willing to abandon its peaceful nuclear programs to produce energy if it is offered "appropriate corresponding measures" at six-party nuclear talks. Officials in Seoul say this change in stance was reportedly disclosed by North Korea during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in Pyongyang late last month.
In previous negotiations with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia, North Korea had said it would only consider scrapping its nuclear weapons ambitions. Earlier this week, South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-moon back from a trip to Beijing had said North Korean officials had indicated their intention to resolve the nuclear standoff and expressed interest in compensation measures and a security guarantee for its regime.
Ban also said Pyongyang had agreed to participate in working-level discussions and another round of six-party negotiations on the nuclear issue. According to officials here, South Korea and China are working to put together a working group meeting as soon as possible but are at the same time concerned that the talks may not happen within this month as Washington has yet to show any response to this latest development.
Arms Control Today April 2004
Seven Lessons for Dealing With Today's North Korea Nuclear Crisis
Excerpted from Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Joel S. Wit, Daniel Poneman, and Robert Gallucci
As the United States and North Korea prepare for a fourth round of talks to resolve an 18-month old crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs, the two countries find themselves fighting over many of the same issues they fought over during the last nuclear crisis in 1993 and 1994. During that showdown, North Korea similarly announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and threatened to take steps (including the production of plutonium) toward building nuclear weapons. The crisis ended with an agreement by North Korea to freeze its nuclear program and provide a full accounting of its past actions in return for a U.S. commitment to meet Pyongyang's energy needs and begin the process of normalizing bilateral relations. In the following excerpts , U.S. negotiators Wit, Poneman, and Gallucci argue that the previous set of talks hold important lessons for their counterparts today in the Bush administration. Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis is to be released by Brookings Institution Press later this month.
What lessons do the crises of 1993 and 1994 hold for the impasse of today? Now, as then, the critical issue is North Korean access to bomb material, this time highly enriched uranium as well as plutonium. Now, as then, the consequences of failure would be grave: an untethered North Korea would be able to churn out bomb-making material each year for use in threatening its neighbors--or for export to terrorists or others. (The fastest route to Al Qaeda would seem to run through Pakistan, North Korea's active trading partner in illicit arms and the likely source of the technology North Korea used to enrich uranium.) Now, as then, a difficult relationship with a newly elected South Korean president further complicates an already daunting diplomatic mission. Now, as then, the other regional powers--South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia--have important roles to play in resolving the crisis.
Mark Twain once observed that by sitting on a hot stove, his cat learned not to sit on a hot stove again. But the cat also learned not to sit on a cold stove. Even if one considered the Agreed Framework a hot stove, the question is whether the government could design a cold stove that could support a lasting and effective diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear challenge. To do so, it would have to consider what kind of agreement would advance U.S. interests and how the United States should go about negotiating such an arrangement. The 1994 crisis has relevance for today on both counts.
Lesson 1. Set strategic priorities, then stick to them. It may seem too obvious to dwell on this lesson, but setting and maintaining priorities is easier said than done. During the first North Korean crisis, the Clinton administration placed the highest strategic priority on blocking North Korean access to additional stocks of separated plutonium. Clarity on that point enabled decision-makers to resist pressures inside the administration to press other (admittedly important) objectives--curbing Pyongyang's ballistic missile program and its threatening conventional force posture--to the point where they would jeopardize the resolution of the nuclear crisis.
Failure to set priorities quickly leads to stalemate. For example, the Bush administration proposed a comprehensive approach in dealing with North Korea, a "bold initiative" that would offer energy and other carrots if North Korea verifiably dismantled its nuclear program and satisfied other U.S. security concerns.31 Such an approach runs the risk of failure because it seeks full North Korean performance on all U.S. demands before offering significant U.S. performance on any North Korean demands. There was never any chance North Korea would accede to such a position, especially since time played in Pyongyang's favor as each passing day it enhanced its own nuclear capabilities. Since the president has made clear that the United States seeks a diplomatic resolution to the current crisis, some parallelism in performance will need to be negotiated if the parties are to achieve agreement on the core issues.
Lesson 2. Integrate carrots and sticks into a strategy of coercive diplomacy. If offered only carrots, the North Koreans will conclude that the other side is more desperate for a deal than they are and will likely continue on a path of defiance and increasing negotiating demands. Offering only sticks will tell the North Koreans that there is no benefit from complying with international demands, except avoidance of pain. They might as well continue down a dangerous path of defiance until their acts become so threatening that the international community will have to respond, by which time Pyongyang may have substantially strengthened its bargaining leverage. That is essentially what occurred after Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly challenged the North Koreans in October 2002 regarding their secret enrichment program.
The Clinton administration relied on both carrots and sticks to try to resolve the 1994 crisis, integrating them into a negotiating position that presented a clear choice.32 If Pyongyang returned to full compliance with international nonproliferation norms, then the international community would respond favorably, reassuring North Korea that compliance would enhance its national security, and even prosperity. It was easier to define the acceptable end-state than to define a viable diplomatic path to reach it. Once the North Koreans were prepared to back down and comply with their nonproliferation obligations, they still sought a face-saving way to do so. This was the "escape valve" that President Clinton kept prodding his advisers to embed into the U.S. negotiating position and, deus ex machina, finally appeared in the form of Jimmy Carter.
At the same time, Pyongyang had to know that if it passed up the face-saving exit and continued to defy the international community, it would experience increasing isolation and hardship. In 1994 this coercive side of diplomacy came to the fore through a gradual military buildup on the peninsula and efforts to seek global support for economic sanctions. Ominous signals from Beijing at the time must have undermined the North Koreans' confidence that China would intervene to insulate North Korea from the effect of UN Security Council sanctions. These efforts put pressure on North Korea to back down when the crisis crested in June 1994. Arriving in Pyongyang at the critical moment, former President Jimmy Carter gave the North Koreans a face-saving way out. They took it.
Lesson 3. Use multilateral institutions and forums to reinforce U.S. diplomacy. Each of North Korea's neighbors has unique equities and assets that must be brought into the settlement. South Korea is the most directly affected, sharing the peninsula and innumerable ties of blood, culture, and history. The United States--a neighbor by virtue of the 37,000 American troops deployed across the Demilitarized Zone--has an unshakable security commitment to South Korea and broader political and economic interests in the region. Japan shares a complex history with Korea--including its occupation of the peninsula ending with Tokyo's defeat in World War II, the painful issues of Japanese abducted by the North Korean regime, and ties between ethnic Koreans living in Japan and their relatives in the North. It also has the economic resources likely to be an essential part of any settlement with North Korea.
China--traditionally as close to North Korea as "lips and teeth"--has loosened its ties but remains more closely involved with Pyongyang than any other regional player. It also retains the most leverage of any outsider, as the provider of the majority of North Korea's fuel and food, without which Pyongyang's economy could not survive. While Russia does not approximate that degree of influence, it is bound to the North by treaty and historical ties dating back to Josef Stalin. It can still contribute significantly to a diplomatic settlement of North Korea's differences with the world.
The Clinton administration worked closely with all of the other regional players in the quest for a solution to the nuclear crisis. It also made full use of all available multilateral institutions to bring pressure to bear upon North Korea in the effort to persuade it to comply with international nonproliferation norms. When the Clinton administration engaged in bilateral discussions with North Korea, it did so with multilateral backing--encouraged initially by South Korea and China, authorized by the UN Security Council. These bilateral talks in no way detracted from the administration effort to secure broad multilateral support for a negotiated solution if possible, and for the use of coercive measures if necessary. To the contrary, the showing of its good-faith bilateral efforts helped the United States make its case in multilateral forums.
Lesson 4. Use bilateral talks to probe diplomatic alternatives. While multilateral diplomacy is indispensable, involving more governments--with varying motives, interests, and objectives--at best complicates and at worst dilutes or even undermines U.S. efforts. The United States should therefore use multilateral diplomacy but not be locked into it exclusively. As a sovereign nation, the United States must be free to use any mechanism--including bilateral talks--to advance its unique interests and objectives. In that sense, bilateral talks are not merely a "gift" to be conferred on other governments, but a vector to convey U.S. perspectives unalloyed and undiluted by multilateral involvement.
American negotiators sometimes envisaged outcomes that would satisfy its multilateral partners' needs, even if the partners were unwilling or unable (because of their negotiating constraints or domestic political factors) to approve certain negotiating positions in advance. Of course, the trade-off is that although reducing the number of parties in direct negotiations can facilitate reaching a deal, it can complicate implementation to the degree that the arrangement does not adequately address the concerns of the governments whose cooperation is essential to success.
Today the Bush administration faces the same dilemma. It has relied almost entirely on multilateral talks, rejecting any but fleeting bilateral contacts with Pyongyang. This approach may give the key governments a greater stake in ensuring that an agreement is fully implemented, create greater pressure on Pyongyang by presenting a unified front, and provide an avenue for others to bring carrots or sticks to bear in the service of the collective diplomatic effort. The disadvantages include an inevitable muffling of U.S. positions in relation to Pyongyang, while also subjecting Washington to greater pressure to modify its own positions.
Most important, placing so much weight on the multilateral format of the discussions with North Korea allows Pyongyang to dictate the pace of the crisis. Pyongyang already makes the decisions on its own nuclear activities. Letting it off the hook of "confronting its accusers" also gives it the upper hand in deciding the pace of the diplomatic effort. Rigid insistence on specific formats or conditions (as opposed to an "anytime, anywhere" offer for talks) permits the North Koreans--now liberated from the cameras, seals, and inspectors of the [International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] that they ejected in 2002--to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons while sidestepping international pressure. Since time is on North Korea's side, the United States and its allies should seek to force the issue by reasserting control over the pacing of the crisis.
In the Civil War, it was not enough for Abraham Lincoln to refuse to recognize the Confederate States of America. He had to take affirmative action to interfere with the Confederacy, which would have realized its strategic aims simply by carrying on its activities independently from--and unmolested by--the Union. Similarly, North Korea can realize its strategic objectives simply by continuing its current path until someone stops it. The longer real negotiations are delayed, the greater the nuclear capability--and bargaining leverage--the North will have accumulated. So whether a particular round of talks with North Korea is bilateral or multilateral is less important than that they occur sooner rather than later. (This is where setting priorities correctly comes into play.)
Lesson 5. South Korean support is crucial to any lasting solution of the North Korean nuclear problem. The role of South Korea is as complex as it is central to resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. Seoul's support is critical, since any action or solution, whatever form it takes, will be on its peninsula. To that end, in 1993 and 1994 the United States and South Korea spent enormous amounts of time and energy working together to forge a common strategy. Contrary to popular belief in South Korea, time after time Washington deferred to Seoul or explicitly took its views into account. The record shows that South Korea had a remarkable degree of influence, even though its positions frequently changed.
Some South Koreans have complained about being harnessed to an ally ready to sacrifice their interests on the altar of nuclear nonproliferation. The most notable example is President Kim's recent claim that he stopped President Clinton from starting a second Korean War.34 In fact, there were no eleventh-hour phone calls to the White House. President Kim was solidly behind the American drive for sanctions, and his government was well informed about the gradual military buildup on the peninsula as well as the more extensive deployments that were about to be considered. Seoul did not know about American consideration of a preemptive strike against Yongbyon, but it is clear from the record of the Principals Committee meetings that Washington would never have authorized an attack without prior consultation with Seoul. That consultation never became necessary after the June breakthrough that returned the nuclear issue to the negotiating table.
In important respects, the challenge of maintaining U.S.-South Korean solidarity is more difficult today than it was a decade ago. Then the majority of South Koreans, and their government, had personal memories of the Korean War and its aftermath as well as serious doubts about Pyongyang's intentions. Now a younger generation has taken the reins of power, after years of a Sunshine Policy that has left many South Koreans feeling greater sympathy toward their brethren in the North and greater concern that their peace is more likely to be disturbed by Americans than North Koreans. For Americans, the deference once accorded to Seoul as facing the more imminent threat from the North has since September 11 been displaced by its own sense of vulnerability to the export of nuclear technology to adversaries and, to some, the prospect of North Korean ballistic missiles ranging the continental United States.
Lesson 6. Take full advantage of China's continuing sway over North Korea. As the driving force behind the six-party talks in 2003, China assumed a much higher profile as a diplomatic player on the world stage. Its importance in addressing the North Korean nuclear crisis was already apparent in 1994. The first crisis broke during China's transition from unalloyed dedication to its alliance with Pyongyang to a more evenhanded relationship between the two Koreas. That timing left China more open to work cooperatively with Seoul, while giving Pyongyang greater reason to fear abandonment by its prime benefactor. Beijing understood both its own leverage as well as the grave consequences of a North Korean nuclear program and repeatedly, but quietly, nudged Pyongyang toward compliance with its nonproliferation commitments. Beijing's most important effort unfolded in the spring of 1994, when it tried its hand at mediation after North Korea's unloading of the fuel rods from the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon and appeared to signal that Pyongyang could not count on China blocking the imposition of UN sanctions against North Korea.
Although Chinese officials have traditionally sought to downplay their influence in Pyongyang, they clearly retain greater leverage over the Kim Jong Il regime than any other player. Fortunately, China and the United States agree on two key objectives: (1) the Korean Peninsula should remain stable and secure, and (2) it should be free of nuclear weapons.
But this convergence of views between Washington and Beijing has limits. Specifically, China has a strong interest in avoiding political disruption in North Korea, which argues in favor of seeking a negotiated solution to the nuclear challenge and against taking steps that could induce regime change in North Korea. By 2003, however, some U.S. officials had apparently concluded that the North Koreans were inveterate cheaters with whom no agreement could be reached that would protect American interests. Under this view, agreements should therefore be eschewed in favor of the only practical way to head off North Korean possession of a growing nuclear weapon stockpile: regime change. Whether this would occur by force or by inducing a social collapse through encouraging massive refugee flows out of the North, the bottom line is that pursuit of this objective would drive a wedge between China and the United States.
Lesson 7. Negotiated arrangements can advance U.S. interests even if the other party engages in cheating. Of course, it is possible to construct a deal that would leave the United States in a worse position if the other side cheated. An example would be an agreement that left the other side well positioned to break out of a treaty in a manner that would put the United States at an instant military disadvantage. Nazi Germany's rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty, combined with Europe's failure to respond, comes to mind. But it is also possible to construct a treaty that leaves the United States better off every day that the other party is compliant, and not significantly disadvantaged if the other party cheats.
U.S. negotiators will always need to make hard choices. It would be desirable if any new deal includes comprehensive limits on North Korea's nuclear program, extending beyond known plutonium production facilities to encompass not only uranium-enrichment activities but also any nuclear weapons Pyongyang may have already built or obtained, as well as its research and development efforts. Such a commitment would be impossible to verify with confidence, even with "anytime, anywhere" inspections in North Korea. It is just too easy to cheat.
Should U.S. negotiators pass up stronger commitments if they cannot be confidently verified? What if a new deal imposes greater restrictions on Pyongyang with more extensive inspections than the 1994 accord but still leaves uncertainties? Would such a deal serve U.S. interests? Similar questions confronted the United States in 1994, when the president had to decide whether to seek more immediate limits on North Korea's threatening plutonium production program in lieu of immediate special inspections.
One way to try to avoid falling into a situation in which the president faces only extreme options is to set "red lines" for North Korea. Initially, the Bush administration seemed leery to do that on the assumption that "if you draw it, they will cross it." There is always a danger that Pyongyang will cross these lines, either deliberately or through miscalculation. In the spring of 1994, North Korea did cross a red line by unloading the 5-megawatt reactor and destroying important historical information contained in the spent fuel rods, triggering the march toward confrontation. But one month later, Pyongyang did not expel the IAEA inspectors monitoring the Yongbyon facility, perhaps in part because of Jimmy Carter's trip but also because it knew that could trigger an American preemptive attack. In short, picking a clear boundary for acceptable behavior can prove a successful deterrent, but only if it is backed by the credible threat of force. The United States should not be bluffing, and it must be clear that it is not.
For four decades, the greatest threat of nuclear conflict emerged from the superpower rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. The fall of the Berlin Wall set events in train that ended with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The first major nuclear proliferation threat--of seeing four nuclear-weapon states emerge full-blown at the end of the Cold War--was averted when U.S. negotiators persuaded the newly formed nations of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to relinquish all of their nuclear weapons to Russia. The second threat--that Russia would become a source of nuclear weapons proliferation from the diversion of weapon scientists and fissile materials to hostile forces--spawned a series of U.S. initiatives under the seminal Nunn-Lugar legislation aimed at promoting the safe and secure dismantlement of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal.
North Korea posed the third great nuclear threat. Addressing that threat as a matter of national urgency led to the concerted effort described in these pages. The urgency was dictated not only by the dire consequences that unbounded North Korean plutonium production could have produced but also by the impending review and extension conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], the cornerstone of global efforts to combat the spread of nuclear weapons. Had the United States failed to contain the North Korean threat in time, it would have torn a hole in the regime just at the moment when the nations of the world were gathering in New York to decide whether to extend the treaty indefinitely, or to let it lapse.
The Agreed Framework permitted the NPT conference to proceed with a North Korea that had reaffirmed its commitment to the treaty, accepted IAEA monitoring to ensure the continuation of the nuclear freeze, and promised ultimate North Korean acceptance of inspections to clarify remaining questions about its past nuclear activities. The accord earned the support of the IAEA, and the NPT was successfully extended indefinitely and without condition, by consensus, in May 1995.35
The response of the United States to the North Korean nuclear challenge was pragmatic, guided by the overarching objective to stop Pyongyang's access to more separated plutonium. It was principled, gaining support of the world community through the UN Security Council, the IAEA, and other forums to support U.S. efforts to persuade Pyongyang to curtail and accept international limits on its nuclear activities. It was complex, involving constant scrutiny of U.S. interests and the effects of shifting events, continual consultations with friends and allies, and a difficult and protracted negotiation with the North Koreans.
Above all, the U.S. response was guided by a determination to prevent the nightmare of nuclear destruction threatened by the North Korean program. The U.S. officials involved in negotiating the Agreed Framework shared a fundamental commitment to advancing the nation's security. None would have advocated support for any accord that did not meet a simple test: would Americans be safer with the Agreed Framework than without it? As public servants, a decade ago we answered that question in favor of the Agreed Framework. As authors today, we reach the same conclusion.
That the same question--will Americans be safer or not?--should guide the evaluation of any proposed U.S. response to the renewed nuclear threat in Korea. If grounded in a policy that forces North Korea to choose between a path of compliance with--or defiance of--the global norm against nuclear weapons proliferation, that question can bring the world to a safer future. North Korea will only be forced to make that choice if the path of defiance inexorably brings pressure that threatens the continued viability of the Kim Jong Il regime, while the path of compliance offers the regime the security assurances and improved relations with the international community that it seeks. We wish those entrusted with our national security well as they make the fateful choices that will shape the outcome of the current crisis. The stakes could not be higher.
Joel S. Wit, a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, served as the State Department coordinator for the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework. Daniel Poneman, a principal at the Scowcroft Group, was a member of the National Security Council from 1990-1996, including three years (1993-1996) as senior director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls. Robert Gallucci, currently dean of Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, was the lead U.S. negotiator with North Korea in 1993 and 1994. From 1998-2001, Ambassador Gallucci held the position of special envoy to deal with the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
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U.S. Mulled Nuclear Strikes On NK Army in 1978
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nautilus Institute in California reported Friday that in March 1978, during the Carter administration, the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA), an affiliated organization of the U.S. National Defense Ministry, was examining how to use tactical nuclear weapons to coerce North Korea on the battlefield.
The institute announced a study by Science Applications Inc. concluding that the use of tactical nuclear weapons would be most effective against DPRK armored units attacking south of the DMZ.
The study suggested that at least 30 airburst nuclear weapons would be used in an area only nine miles from Seoul and some 15 miles south of the DMZ. The Nautilus Institute indicated that around the time the DNA was looking into the use of tactical nuclear weapons, the Carter administration was struggling with its withdrawal policy for U.S. forces in Korea.
(Joo Yong-jung, email@example.com )
Closing Pandora's Box: Pakistan's Role in Nuclear Proliferation
On February 4, 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, self-styled father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, appeared on Pakistani television to apologize to his nation. Revealing few details, Khan stated that a government investigation, which followed "disturbing disclosures and evidence by some countries to international agencies" (read "Iran and Libya to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]"), confirmed "alleged proliferation activities by certain Pakistanis and foreigners over the last two decades." Khan admitted the allegations were true and said "there was never ever any kind of authorization for these activities by any government official." Pakistani officials a few days earlier claimed that Khan provided technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.
On February 5, Khan was pardoned by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, with no mention of confiscating the millions of dollars he had acquired in more than 20 years of nuclear moonlighting. When asked about Khan's pardon, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Richard Boucher replied, "I don't think it's a matter for the United States to sit in judgment on."
In fact, it is critically important for the United States to judge whether Pakistan has adequately addressed Khan's proliferation behavior. The administration's failure to do so may be symptomatic of a deeper problem in its nonproliferation strategy. By focusing on "hostile states and terrorists" as the main proliferation threat, the Bush strategy ignores friendly countries, such as Pakistan, that host terrorists, place insufficient controls on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and are threatened with political destabilization. Ironically, the threat of terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction is probably greater in Pakistan than in Iraq, Libya, North Korea, or Iran--all targets of Bush counterproliferation policy. Even more, Pakistan has remained locked in a nuclear confrontation with India, which has several times escalated to the point of all-out war.
The Khan case illustrates a practical reality: separating "good guys" and "bad guys" in this fashion will not work over the long term. The reason is the phenomenon of secondary proliferation. Whereas 20 years ago we worried about single states acquiring the bomb, Khan has raised the stakes. Although some may argue that Khan acted independently and that his role is unlikely ever to be replicated, Pakistan's continuing struggle with Islamic fundamentalism makes the prospect of rogue nuclear-weapon scientists even more problematic than government-directed proliferation. If Khan is not unique, how effective is the Bush administration's targeted counterproliferation policy? Can tweaking supplier controls, as President George W. Bush recently suggested, stop this kind of proliferation? What practical routes are left for slowing nuclear proliferation?
Is Khan's Role Unique?
The press has focused on the sexier aspects of Khan's story: money launderers in Dubai, Swiss and British intermediaries, plants in Kuala Lumpur, and shipments intercepted in Mediterranean ports. Yet, nuclear proliferation is no stranger to intrigue, spies, and foreign travel. What may be most shocking about the unfolding tale of Khan's nuclear weapons marketing is how utterly familiar it sounds. To be sure, leaks of high technology used to emanate mostly from North America, Europe, and Russia. Sources now have expanded to Asia and Eurasia, despite attempts to strengthen supplier controls and nuclear safeguards in the wake of Iraq's embarrassing nuclear shopping spree before the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
If the modes of covert nuclear commerce appear to have changed little, what is particularly egregious about the Khan case? One answer may lie in Khan and his associates' apparent ability to provide "one-stop shopping." Khan sold blueprints; components; full centrifuge assemblies; uranium hexafluoride feedstock; and, from some accounts, a nuclear-weapon design. If he had desired, Khan also could have provided some missile technology because Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) developed missiles in collaboration with North Korea. Was Khan able to provide this one-stop shopping because of his unique position within the Pakistani nuclear weapons program and heroic popular image or because the Pakistani government helped?
Khan's assistance to Iran in centrifuge uranium-enrichment apparently began in the late 1980s and continued at least until the mid-1990s. Assistance to Libya began in the early 1990s and may have continued into 2002. Beyond blueprints, components, full assemblies of centrifuges, and low-enriched uranium, Libya also received--startlingly--a nuclear weapons design. In both cases, it is clear that Khan provided technology for an advanced centrifuge design (the P-2). There is no confirmation that the nuclear-weapon design Libya received in 2001 or 2002 is from Pakistan, but some sources have reported that the design contained Chinese text and step-by-step instructions for assembling a vintage 1960s, highly enriched uranium (HEU) implosion device, which could indicate that Khan passed on a design that Pakistan is long rumored to have received from China.
Whether Khan gave North Korea nuclear-weapon-related technology or equipment is still disputed. U.S. officials and sources close to Khan have said he did; the Pakistani and North Korean governments have denied any technology transfers. One popular theory is that Pakistan bartered uranium-enrichment technology for missile technology from North Korea, but Musharraf has stated that "whatever we bought from North Korea is with money." A Pakistani official involved in Khan's investigation reportedly said North Korea ordered P-1 centrifuge components from 1997 to 2000. Separately, other evidence points to Pakistani nuclear assistance. As far back as 1991, a German intelligence investigation concluded that Iraq, and possibly Iran and North Korea, obtained uranium-melting information from Pakistan in the late 1980s.
The Pakistani government began to investigate allegations of nuclear transfers in 2000. The Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) raided a plane chartered by Khan bound for North Korea but found nothing. Further, although Musharraf admitted that he "forcibly retired" Khan from the KRL in 2001 to prevent him from transferring more nuclear secrets, Khan ultimately was undone not by his government, but by his clients. Forced to prove to the IAEA that it had not enriched uranium to HEU levels, Iran revealed the existence of foreign suppliers in October 2003. Iran had held back information on the procurement network for months. Apparently, Khan had written letters to Iranian clients, urging them to destroy some of their facilities and tell the IAEA that their Pakistani contacts were dead. Libya's decision to give up its WMD programs voluntarily, however, unleashed a torrent of information about Pakistani assistance, forcing the Pakistani government to conduct a two-month investigation.
The Pakistani government has been slow to admit that there were nuclear transfers and quick to deny any official complicity. Initially, official Pakistani responses ranged from "our nuclear weapons are secure" to "there is no smoking gun." In December 2003, the Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that Pakistan never authorized transfers but that individuals may have been involved in transfers to Iran. On January 6, 2004, when asked about transfers to Libya, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said "This is total madness." An interview in February 2004 with Musharraf noted that Pakistan's investigation had not uncovered evidence of transfers to countries other than Iran and Libya."
The structure of the nuclear establishment in Pakistan and the key role of the military, as well as long-standing ties between Pakistan and all three countries, raise doubts that Khan acted completely without government knowledge. Pakistan's military is widely believed to control the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Musharraf has taken pains to clarify that Pakistan established civilian control of the nuclear weapons program (embodied in himself) under the National Command Authority, but until Musharraf steps down as army chief of staff, this distinction may be irrelevant. Moreover, a key feature of Pakistan's export control regulations allows for an explicit exemption for Ministry of Defense agencies, which suggests that weapons programs under military leadership could skirt domestic export control laws.
Khan has alleged that military officials, including former Chiefs of Army Staff (COAS), knew of the transfers. One account claims that equipment to Iran was transferred at the request of the late General Imtiaz Ali between 1988 and 1990. Another states that Musharraf was aware of aid to North Korea, that General Mirzla Aslam Beg knew about aid to Iran, and that two other COAS (Generals Jehangir Karamat and Abdul Waheed) knew of aid to North Korea. General Beg long has had a reputation for being an Islamist and an admirer of the Iranian revolution. Beg officially denied knowledge of aid to Iran, although former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she was approached several times from 1988 to 1990 (the period when Beg was COAS) by military officials and scientists who wanted to export nuclear technology. According to Bhutto, "it certainly was their (scientists') belief that they could earn tons of money if they did this." But Bhutto had established a policy in December 1988 not to export nuclear technology. Bhutto also said that "no Pakistani thought Mr. Khan was acting alone."
Reports of extensive official cooperation between Pakistan and the three countries lend credence to claims that Pakistan's government might have known of transfers. Pakistan reportedly signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran in 1986, although the terms of that agreement are unknown, and Iranian scientists received training in Pakistan in 1988. Libyan funding of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program in the early years long has been alleged. Pakistan's well-documented missile cooperation with North Korea beginning in the early 1990s may have provided either a convenient excuse for rogue nuclear scientists to ply their trade or sparked the plan for a barter arrangement as Pakistani foreign currency reserves fell dangerously low in 1996.
Khan reportedly made more than $100 million from selling nuclear technology to Libya alone. Musharraf has stressed the role of greed, but Khan reportedly told investigators he hoped to deflect attention from Pakistan's nuclear program and support other Muslim countries (i.e., Iran and Libya) by providing nuclear assistance. In the late 1980s, when cooperation with Iran allegedly began, the argument for deflecting attention from Pakistan could have been plausible, particularly as pressure from the United States grew with each new revelation of Pakistan's nuclear progress.
U.S. Policy Toward Pakistan
For 30 years, the U.S. government has tried to restrain Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons using such tools as diplomacy, aid, and interdiction. When those failed, sanctions were developed specifically against Pakistan to slow its nuclear program (see sidebar). U.S. policy implementation, however, has been inconsistent, particularly when other U.S. national security interests at times have taken precedence. Less than six months after cutting off aid in 1979 to Pakistan for its uranium-enrichment activities, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and negotiations to resume aid to Islamabad began. In 1990, after the Soviets pulled out, President George H.W. Bush determined he could not certify that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device, and so aid was cut off again, this time for several years. In 1998, aid was cut off following Pakistan's nuclear tests, but this lasted less than a year. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress passed legislation allowing Pakistan to circumvent the remaining restrictions on aid (related then to its foreign debt arrears and 1999 military coup).
Over time, the U.S. threshold of proliferation tolerance has risen from Pakistan's acquisition of technology to its possession of a nuclear device and then to nuclear testing (in 1998). Has the threshold now risen to the point where the United States is seeking to sidestep laws aimed at penalizing states that supply nuclear technologies, rather than those that receive such aid? This could explain why the United States has not strenuously pursued the question of potential Pakistani government cooperation in Khan's activities. The State Department concluded in a letter to key members of Congress on March 12, 2003, that "the administration carefully reviewed the facts relating to the possible transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea, and decided that they do not warrant the imposition of sanctions under applicable U.S. laws." Given administration statements alleging such nuclear transfers, the United States appears to have accepted Islamabad's explanation that it had no role.
Pinning the blame on individuals is a time-tested and obvious circumvention (? la the 1996 provision of Chinese ring magnets to Pakistan, which was not deemed a sanctionable offense). Although individuals engaging in proliferation are barred under U.S. law from receiving U.S. government contracts, there are few other ways for the United States to punish them. Nonetheless, a determination that Libya and Iran received such equipment, even from an individual, might not relieve Bush of an obligation to make a determination and then perhaps waive sanctions. In particular, receiving a nuclear weapons design is a trigger for cutting off aid under Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act. In the case of both Libya and Iran, new sanctions would add little to the broader burden already imposed on them by virtue of their status as a state sponsors of terrorism. With respect to Pakistan, draft Senate authorizing legislation on the foreign affairs budget (S. 2144) currently contains a waiver of sanctions (including those for proliferation) previously in force.
The line in the sand appears to be drawn now at the transfer of nuclear weapons technology to terrorists. Unfortunately, such activities are incredibly difficult to deter, detect, identify, and stop. The 2002 U.S. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction identifies this problem as "one of the most difficult challenges we face." Whether the threat of terrorists acquiring and using nuclear weapons is greater now than before is unclear, but the ability to influence terrorists in this regard, in contrast to states, remains extremely limited.
U.S. officials have intimated they knew about Khan's network for several years, and the U.S. government seems to have been quietly working with the Pakistani government to limit the damage from Khan's nuclear network. Shortly after Khan's dismissal in 2001, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reportedly stated that "people who were employed by the nuclear agency and have retired" could be spreading nuclear technology to other states, including North Korea. Nonetheless, after U.S. intelligence officials leaked the news in 2002 that Pakistani enrichment technology was transferred to North Korea, Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed that "President Musharraf gave me his assurance, as he has previously, that Pakistan is not doing anything of that nature....The past is the past." But Powell put Musharraf on notice: "I have made clear to him that any, any sort of contact between Pakistan and North Korea we believe would be improper, inappropriate, and would have consequences."
Clearly, another key factor here is the priority of counterterrorism over counterproliferation policy in the Bush administration. In 2002, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether countries that provided assistance to North Korea on the enrichment program would risk being cut off from U.S. assistance and he responded that "September 11th changed the world." Two months later, the United States decided to impose sanctions on North Korea for sending Scud missiles to Yemen, yet waived sanctions against Yemen for receiving them. The reason: According to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, "because of the commitments that they [Yemen] had made and in consideration of their support for the war on terrorism."
Missiles to Yemen may be one thing, but tacitly condoning past nuclear weapons cooperation with three state sponsors of terrorism is counterproductive. Secretary of State Powell's announcement on March 18th that Pakistan would be designated a "major non-NATO ally," a step that facilitates military cooperation and assistance, reinforces the impression that for the Bush administration, counterterrorism trumps counterproliferation cooperation.
There is no telling how much information Khan's 12-page confession contains, whether it is accurate or complete, or how much will be revealed either to the IAEA or other states. So far, Musharraf has denied the need for an international investigation or any international inspections of Pakistani nuclear facilities. He has said he will share some information with the IAEA, and U.S. officials apparently are content with that approach.
The main U.S. response so far has been to focus on closing down Khan's covert nuclear network. On February 11, 2004, Bush unveiled new efforts aimed partly to accomplish this. Briefly, Bush proposes to expand interdiction efforts (under the Proliferation Security Initiative) to "shut down labs, to seize their materials, to freeze their assets;" criminalize proliferation through a new U.S.-sponsored UN Security Council resolution; expand cooperative threat reduction measures to states such as Libya; ban enrichment and reprocessing capabilities beyond those states that already have them; make the Additional Protocol (to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT]) a prerequisite for nuclear-related imports; and create a special committee at the IAEA to investigate compliance.
Strengthening export controls is laudable and necessary, but these measures, even taken together, are unlikely to prevent another Khan affair. Above all, supplier controls rely on the fundamental premise that slowing the leakage of technology (which itself is inevitable) buys time for the world community to persuade states not to acquire nuclear weapons. This premise is undone by the emergence of a supplier who can supply it all. In one sense, Khan's success is the natural result of a well-known NPT loophole: states outside the treaty that have acquired nuclear weapons. Pakistan, India, Israel, and possibly North Korea are likely to remain outside the NPT and therefore are not bound by the treaty's prohibitions on sharing nuclear weapons technology.
Despite this, the United States and other supplier countries have their own means to impose penalties for actions that undermine the NPT (see sidebar), as well as ample carrots to offer Pakistan. The Bush administration has proposed a $3 billion aid package to Pakistan over the next five years. At a minimum, the United States should condition this aid on requiring Pakistan to give the United States full access to Khan, as well as to improve transparency, export controls, and personnel reliability in its nuclear program.
By treating Libya, the "axis of evil" countries, and Pakistan as separate and distinct problems, the United States is missing an opportunity to develop a common and consistent nuclear nonproliferation policy.
Events in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, and North Korea all point to the lesson that nothing can substitute for on-site inspection of suspicious activities. Inspections in Iraq failed to come up with evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program, whether conducted by the IAEA and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) or the Iraq Survey Group. Inspections in Iran have slowly revealed capabilities Iran had been loathe to admit and which were not revealed by overhead imagery alone. Inspections in Libya surprised some with revelations of centrifuge and weapons design procurement but basically confirmed long-held views that Libya's nuclear weapons program did not amount to much. Finally, the lack of inspections in North Korea has left the United States guessing about North Korean enrichment capabilities.
Although Pakistan has rejected the NPT and any kind of international inspections into Khan's activities, there may be ways of introducing more transparency into its nuclear program. Serious discussions with Pakistan on export control only began in 2003 and the Bush administration has asked for just $1 million in the FY05 State Department budget for export control assistance, a tiny fraction of the $700 million in assistance to Pakistan for next year. U.S. export control assistance should be expanded, with a particular focus on eliminating exemptions for Pakistani defense agencies and assisting Pakistan to adhere to Nuclear Suppliers' Group guidelines. The United States could also offer specific assistance in physical protection of nuclear material and personnel security under the auspices of a cooperative threat reduction program. Nonetheless, even if Pakistan accepted this offer, this may not produce adequate transparency. 
Ultimately, it would be far better to get international inspections at Pakistani facilities and to draw Pakistan into a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). U.S. policy has supported such a treaty since 1993, but little diplomatic capital has been expended on it. Pakistan has said it will support an FMCT. At a minimum, a cutoff agreement would place all enrichment and reprocessing worldwide (given universal adherence) under inspection. In this way, it would require inspections at facilities that have operated covertly for many years, opening them up to international scrutiny and making it more difficult for covert supplier networks to flourish. A treaty also could go further and close down unneeded production capacity or incorporate international management or control of fissile material.
Finally, although Pakistan's current importance to the war on terrorism makes U.S. sanctions unlikely, the United States needs to make clear that there will be severe consequences for further transgressions, regardless of the counterterrorism issue. U.S. policymakers also need to reevaluate their tepid support for multilateral nonproliferation approaches. If anything, the globalization of the black nuclear market should provide a warning that one country cannot halt this problem alone.
Retracing Khan's Path
Abdul Qadeer Khan's unlikely route to nuclear stardom began in 1972. As a trained metallurgist subcontracted to the fledgling URENCO consortium, he was asked to translate classified documents on centrifuge technology from their original German into Dutch. Khan's access, as well as overt Pakistani procurement attempts, began to attract notice from Dutch authorities in late 1975. Transferred to a less sensitive position, Khan fled Holland for his native Pakistan in December 1975. His intimate knowledge of suppliers and a weak international export control regime allowed him to build a centrifuge enrichment plant at Sihala in just a few years. The construction and operation of the Kahuta enrichment facility, known then as the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), followed. Khan's hard work was rewarded in 1981 when President Muhammed Zia ul-Haq renamed the ERL as the Khan Research Laboratory (KRL). According to some reports, a competition was encouraged between the KRL and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to develop two routes to the bomb--HEU and plutonium. Khan himself has described his activities as supporting the PAEC's reactor development program, enriching uranium to use as fuel in the Chasma nuclear reactor.
By many accounts, the KRL and Khan were given remarkable autonomy. This independence only grew after the uranium-enrichment program, once thought of as a fallback in case the French reprocessing plant at Chasma fell through (which it did in 1978 under strong U.S. pressure), became the cornerstone of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. One aide close to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf stated, "Khan had a complete blank check. He could do anything. He could go anywhere. He could buy anything at any price." Musharraf himself has noted that "there was a covert program for maybe 30 years, and there was a lot of autonomy given to the organization and individuals running the program. There was a lot of chance for leakages."
A critical question is why the Pakistani government permitted this autonomy. Politics likely played a key role. After taking power in 1999, Musharraf began to receive reports of corruption (skimming government contracts and nepotism) at Kahuta. Khan's lavish lifestyle, despite his modest salary, was "the worst-kept secret in town," said one Pakistani official. Still, Musharraf did not remove him as KRL head until 2001, allegedly under considerable pressure from the United States. Even then, he was appointed special adviser to Musharraf. After Khan's confession, Musharraf called him a personal hero and a hero to the nation. Musharraf declared that, "since [Khan] had acquired a larger-than-life figure for himself, one had to pardon him to satisfy the public."
Khan further cemented his importance to the entire nuclear weapons program through KRL development of missiles in the 1980s. Reportedly, a competition was encouraged between the plutonium team (PAEC), working toward Chinese-derived nuclear-capable missiles, and the HEU team (KRL), collaborating with North Korea on a Scud derivative. Khan's frequent trips abroad for "legitimate" missile cooperation with North Korea might have provided cover for his nuclear deals.
The nuclear program prior to 1998, according to Pakistani officials, was handled by just a few people at the top. Despite Pakistan's claims to have tightened controls by creating the National Command Authority (NCA) in February 2000, high-level officials still seem to be exempt. Reportedly, key people in the Pakistani nuclear weapons program are screened every two years (since 2000) by the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), Military Intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau, and the Strategic Plan Division of the NCA. However, "top-level people (including scientists) are controlled by their organizations and not psychologically screened." Musharraf has suggested in interviews that it is virtually impossible to stop security breaches by institution leaders. Referring to himself, he stated, "If there was a security problem here and if I myself am involved in the breach, do you think anyone is going to check me?" This analogy might reflect the unique status of Khan, a fundamental flaw in Pakistani nuclear security procedures, or both. Moreover, it is yet to be established that some or all of these exchanges were not matters of national policy.
1. For an excellent account, see Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books, 1981).
2. Simon Henderson, "We Can Do It Ourselves," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (September 1993), p. 27.
3. The KRL began to produce enriched uranium in 1984 and, by some estimates, HEU by 1986, whereas plutonium for weapons did not become available until after the 1998 nuclear tests. See Leonard Spector, The Undeclared Bomb (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment, 1988), p. 143.
4. "A Tale of Nuclear Proliferation: How Pakistani Built His Network," The New York Times, February 12, 2004.
5. "Q&A: Pervez Musharraf; Confronting the Nuclear Underworld," The Washington Post, January 25, 2004.
6. "Delicate Dance for Musharraf in Nuclear Case," The New York Times, February 8, 2004.
7. "Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe," The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.
8. "General Defiant in Face of Scandal Over Scientist's Nuclear Secrets," Financial Times, February 18, 2004.
9. "Pakistani Leader Suspected Moves by Atomic Expert," The New York Times, February 10, 2004.
10. Simon Henderson, "Pakistan's Nuclear Proliferation and U.S. Policy," PolicyWatch, no. 826, January 12, 2004.
11. See report from a visit to Pakistan by Paolo Cotta-Ramusino and Maurizio Martellini in 2001, "Nuclear safety, nuclear stability and nuclear strategy in Pakistan: A concise report of a visit by Landau Network-Centro Volta."
13. General Defiant in Face of Scandal Over Scientist's Nuclear Secrets," Financial Times, February 18, 2004.
Retracing Khan's Path
During the past three decades, the United States has imposed and lifted sanctions on Pakistan many times. The changes have reflected modifications in U.S. foreign policy priorities as much as shifts in Pakistan's nonproliferation behavior.
1976 Congress amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) to bar aid to countries that transfer uranium-enrichment or reprocessing equipment, materials, or technology in violation of specified conditions (Symington amendment, Sec. 669, FAA).
1977 Congress amends FAA to bar aid for countries that detonate a nuclear explosive (Glenn amendment, Sec. 670, FAA, which also covers reprocessing transfers). Aid suspended in September
1977 because Pakistan is found to be seeking reprocessing technology from French companies.
1978 Aid resumed in October 1978 after France cancels reprocessing deal.
1979 Aid cut off in April 1979 because of Pakistan's enrichment activities (Symington invoked).
1980 Negotiations to resume aid begin after Soviets invade Afghanistan.
1981 Aid resumed (Symington waived by Congress (Sec. 620E, FAA) of Sec. 669) for Pakistan but restrictions added for transfers of nuclear weapons and design information.
1985 Solarz amendment (amends Sec. 670, FAA) bars aid for illegal export from the United States of any material, equipment, or technology that would contribute significantly to the ability of a country to build a nuclear explosive device. Pressler amendment (Sec. 620E(e), FAA) prohibits the transfer of military equipment or technology to Pakistan specifically unless the president certifies to the Congress that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device and that the proposed U.S. aid program would reduce significantly the risk that Pakistan will possess such a device.
1987 Symington waiver expires; renewed for 30 months.
1990 Aid suspended under Pressler amendment. Symington waiver expires.
1995 Brown amendment relaxes cut-off so that only military aid and transfers barred.
1998 May: aid suspended after nuclear tests. July: Congress provides waiver for wheat purchases. Aid resumes for one year, except military assistance, dual-use exports, and military sales (India-Pakistan Relief Act of 1998 (Brownback I).
1999 Aid resumes permanently (Brownback II gives president permanent waiver authority for proliferation sanctions). However, foreign debt arrears and military coup bar aid to Pakistan.
2001 Presidential executive order lifts remaining restrictions.
1. David Rohde and David E. Sanger, "Key Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers," The New York Times, February 2, 2004.
2. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (December 2002), p. 1.
3. A 1982 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, Analysis of Six Issues About Nuclear Capabilities of India, Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, concluded that from 1978 to 1981 India acquired technology from France, the United States, and the United Kingdom; Iraq from Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Niger, Norway, Portugal and Russia; Libya from Argentina, Finland, India, Niger, the United States, and Russia; and Pakistan from Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia. By the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland were also found to have supplied Iraq with nuclear technologies. See "Who Armed Iraq?" The New York Times, July 18, 1993.
4. Pakistan's investigation also included Mohammed Farooq, who supervised the KRL's contacts with foreign suppliers; Yasin Chohan, a KRL metallurgist; Major Islam ul-Haq, a personal staff officer; Nazeer Ahmed, a KRL director; and Saeed Ahmed, head of centrifuge design. Between 11 and 25 KRL employees were questioned, as well as the generals in charge of KRL security, Generals Beg and Karamat. Simon Henderson, "Link Leaks," National Review Online, January 19, 2004.
5. See Karen Yourish and Delano D'Souza, "Father of Pakistani Bomb Sold Nuclear Secrets," Arms Control Today, March 2004, p. 22.
6. In fact, U.S. sanctions were imposed in early 2003 on the KRL for receiving MTCR Category I missiles from North Korea.
7. Iran told the IAEA its centrifuge enrichment program began in 1987; Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, who briefed journalists on February 1, 2004, on Khan's confession, reportedly stated that cooperation began in 1989 and Khan transferred technology from 1989 to 1991. "Key Pakistani Is Said to Admit Atom Transfers," The New York Times, February 2, 2004. An IAEA report states that Iran received P-2 drawings from "foreign sources" in 1994. IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran," GOV/2004/11, February 24, 2004, p. 8 (hereinafter GOV/2004/11 report).
8. An IAEA report states that in 1997 foreign manufacturers provided 20 pre-assembled L-1 (equivalent to P-1) centrifuges and components for an additional 200 L-1 centrifuges, including process gas feeding and withdrawal systems, UF6 cylinders, and frequency converters. IAEA, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," GOV/2004/12, February 20, 2004 (hereinafter GOV/2004/12 report).
9. Libya received two of the P-2-type centrifuges in 2000 and placed an order for 10,000 more. Iran has claimed that it received P-2 plans, but no centrifuge components, and tried to develop a carbon-composite rotor on its own, with no success. GOV/2004/11 report and GOV/2004/12 report.
10. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, "Warhead Blueprints Link Libya Project to Pakistan Figure," The New York Times, February 4, 2004; Joby Warrick and Peter Slevin, "Libyan Arms Designs Traced Back to China," The Washington Post, February 15, 2004.
11. Asked by Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) what the United States knows about Pakistan's involvement in helping North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage replied that "[w]e know it's both ways and we know a good bit about a North Korean-Pakistan relationship." Richard Armitage, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, February 4, 2003.
12. Farhan Bokhari, Steven Fidler, and Edward Luce, "Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection," Financial Times, February 18, 2004. For additional evidence related to a barter arrangement, see Sharon Squassoni, "Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and Pakistan," CRS Report for Congress, RL 31900, March 11, 2004.
13. Mubashir Zaidi, "Scientist Claimed Nuclear Equipment Was Old, Official Says," The Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2004.
14. Mark Hibbs, "Agencies Trace Some Iraqi URENCO Know-How to Pakistan Re-Export," Nucleonics Week, November 28, 1991, pp. 1, 7-8. See also Mark Hibbs, "CIA Assessment on DPRK Presumes Massive Outside Help on Centrifuges," Nuclear Fuel, November 25, 2002.
15. "Pakistan Informed U.S. of `Personal' Nuclear Technology Transfer: Report," Agence France-Presse, December 25, 2003. According to this report, the United States asked the Pakistani government to look into alleged nuclear transfers to North Korea, and Pakistani officials concluded from the deposit of large sums of money in Kahuta scientists' bank accounts that nuclear technology had indeed been transferred on an individual basis.
17. Glenn Kessler, "Pakistan's N. Korea Deals Stir Scrutiny; Aid to Nuclear Arms Bid May Be Recent," The Washington Post, November 13, 2002. Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, reportedly stated that "[n]o material, no technology ever has been exported to North Korea "and "[n]obody can tell us if there is evidence, no one is challenging our word. There is no smoking gun."
18. Bokhari, Fidler, and Luce, "Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection," Financial Times, February 18, 2004.
19. Anupam Srivastava and Seema Gahlaut, "Curbing Proliferation from Emerging Suppliers: Export Controls in India and Pakistan," Arms Control Today, September 2003, pp. 12-16.
20. "Nuke Leak May Cost Pak $3b," The Times of India Online, February 5, 2004.
21. John Lancaster and Kamran Khan, "Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe," The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.
22. See David Rohde, "General Denies Letting Secrets of A-Bomb Out of Pakistan," The New York Times, January 27, 2004; Steven Fidler, "Bhutto `Rejected Request to Sell N-Technology,'" Financial Times, February 24, 2004.
23. On the other hand, Bhutto stated she did not think it probable that centrifuge parts were exported from Pakistan to Iran from 1994 to 1995 (while she was prime minister), despite revelations of exactly that in a Malaysian police report connected to the Iran investigation.
24. Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb (New York: Times Books, 1981).
25. Daniel A. Pinkston, "When Did WMD Deals between Pyongyang and Islamabad Begin?" http://cns.mis.edu.
26. David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, "Pakistani's Nuclear Earnings: $100 Million," The New York Times, March 16, 2004.
27. John Lancaster and Kamran Khan, "Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe," The Washington Post, February 3, 2004.
28. CIA director George Tenet stated that U.S. intelligence had penetrated Khan's network, including its subsidiaries, scientists, front companies, agents, finances, and manufacturing plants, in a February 5, 2004, speech he gave at Georgetown University, available at www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/index.html.
29. Steven Fidler and Edward Luce "U.S. Fears North Korea Could Gain Nuclear Capability through Pakistan," Financial Times, June 1, 2001.
30. Carla Anne Robbins, "North Korea Got a Little Help from Neighbors--Secret Nuclear Program Tapped Russian Suppliers and Pakistani Know-How," Wall Street Journal Europe, October 21, 2002; ABC's This Week, October 20, 2002 (transcript).
31. Ahmed Rashid, "US Grows Unhappier with Pakistan--Despite Official Friendship, Three Areas of Contention Are Straining the Alliance," The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2002.
32. Bokhari, Fidler, and Luce, "Pakistan Rejects Nuclear Inspection," Financial Times, February 18, 2004.
33. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated in the daily press briefing on February 17, 2004, that "we look forward to hearing from the Pakistani government about the facts as they have developed them during the course of their investigation."
34. Available at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/02/20040211-4.html. See also Wade Boese, "Bush Outlines Proposals to Stem Proliferation," Arms Control Today, March 2004, pp. 24-25.
35. For specific impediments to providing cooperative threat reduction assistance to Pakistan and India, see Sharon Squassoni, "Nuclear Threat Reduction Measures for India and Pakistan," CRS Report for Congress, RL 31589.
Sharon Squassoni is a specialist in national defense issues with the Congressional Research Service. The views presented here are the author's own and do not reflect those of the Congressional Research Service or the Library of Congress.
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US prods UN for a nuclear export rule
Measure sought to halt the spread of weapons data
By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff, 4/4/2004
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is pressing for a UN resolution demanding that all countries pass strict laws on nuclear exports, according to a draft of the resolution being circulated to the Security Council.
The initiative is taking shape as US officials acknowledge that no members of an international nuclear-smuggling network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist, have been brought to justice. Some members, the officials said, are free to continue operating their businesses months after being exposed. In many cases, inadequate laws do not even make their activities illegal.
At least four of nine suspects identified as part of Khan's network had prior connections to illicit sales, but none are facing prosecution, according to interviews with authorities and information from documents around the world. Some details came from a Malaysian police report that identifies business executives who worked with Khan on Libya's nuclear weapons program.
Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, confessed in February to selling nuclear secrets to Libya, North Korea, and Iran. He was pardoned by Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf.
In Washington, US officials touting the proposed UN resolution say outdated domestic laws and lax attitudes toward proliferation in parts of Asia and Europe have frustrated efforts to bring Khan's network to justice.
They say the passage of the UN resolution would close a loophole in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which addresses the actions of states, not of individuals.
US officials began working on the resolution in September, as President Bush made a speech at the United Nations calling for stricter nuclear export laws. At the time, Khan's network was not publicly known, but it was known to the president and it bolstered his decision to push the resolution, according to a Washington-based administration official who said it was his office's policy to request that his name be withheld.
Another Washington-based US official, who also asked not to be identified, said the resolution was part of a push to persuade countries to tighten export laws in part because of what had been learned in the Khan case.
"There are a number of countries that recognize that laws that might have been appropriate a decade or two decades ago aren't going to work in the 21st century," the official said.
The resolution, which directs countries to pass domestic laws criminalizing the export and manufacture of nuclear components and other weapons of mass destruction, could have considerable teeth: The draft cites Chapter VII of the UN charter, which gives the power to invoke sanctions and the use of force to require countries to comply, although such measures are not stated explicitly.
Security Council diplomats said they expected the resolution to pass, perhaps with modifications that might weaken it.
Specialists said the move did not tackle the most abused loophole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- that countries are given access to nuclear technology if they promise to use it for peaceful purposes. But some said the resolution was unexpectedly sweeping.
"Strange as it may seem, there is no international prohibition today against having a group of terrorists move into a country and set up shop to make nuclear bombs, nor is there a prohibition against a group of entrepreneurs doing the same thing to make money," said Arthur Shulman, a research associate at the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.
A look at the evidence against the businessmen who allegedly worked with Khan reflects the uphill battle that investigators face.
Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman whom Bush identified as Khan's "chief financial officer and money launderer" set up a factory in Malaysia to produce components for nuclear centrifuges to be shipped to Libya.
When US and British intelligence officials brought the case to the Malaysian special branch in November, Tahir was questioned by Malaysian police, who compiled an extensive report.
But police released him, concluding that his actions did not violate Malaysian law.
Malaysia is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which regulates the government's activities in the nuclear field. But the country's export laws do not regulate a private individual's manufacture of technology such as the nuclear centrifuge components that Tahir was selling, according to the report, which Malaysian authorities released.
Tahir, who became friends with Khan in the 1980s while selling air-conditioning parts to Khan's laboratory in Pakistan, had been suspected in 1999 for involvement in the sale of nuclear technology to Khan. He was never arrested.
Urs Tinner, a Swiss consultant, was also identified by the Malaysian police report, which indicates that Tinner allegedly set up the factory in Malaysia and outfitted it with imported machine tools. Tinner is being investigated by Swiss authorities for possible violations of a 1998 law that prevents Swiss citizens from aiding in the production of a nuclear weapon, according to Othmar Wyss, head of export control at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
Tinner will not be prosecuted unless Swiss authorities can prove he knew what was being produced at the factory. He has denied knowing anything.
"It is very difficult for us to prove that he knew," Wyss said in a telephone interview.
Tinner was investigated in 1991 when valves he sent to Singapore were routed to Iraq, but Swiss authorities could not prove he knew their final destination, Wyss said.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Europe, Tinner said he did not know that the factory he helped set up was meant to make centrifuge parts for Libya's nuclear weapons program. "I had no idea what was going on," he was quoted as saying. "If I had been working in the final production, where one could see the final product, then I would be guilty. But I didn't know what we were making."
Gotthard Lerch, a German man identified in the police report as having tried to supply pipes to the Libyan nuclear program, had served time for proliferation, according to an official at the German Embassy. It was unclear if Lerch's jail sentence was a result of the activities mentioned in the Malaysian report. No telephone number for Lerch could be found.
Two Turkish nationals who also allegedly supplied Libya's nuclear program are being scrutinized by investigators, but have not been arrested, according to Tolga Ucak, an attache at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey.
Peter Griffin, a British businessman, allegedly supplied a furnace and a floor plan to Libya's nuclear weapons program, according to the police report. It said he was active as late as 2001, supplying a lathe machine and arranging for Libyan technicians to travel to Spain to learn how to use it.
Griffin, former owner of Gulf Technical Industries in Dubai, has not been arrested, according to a British official in Washington, D. C., who declined to comment further on his case. Attempts to reach him at the business were unsuccessful. Griffin's son, Paul, who took over the company, told the newspaper The Guardian, "We have been framed."
But Shulman, a research associate at the Wisconsin Project, which tracks more than 3,700 companies and individuals suspected of involvement in proliferation, said Griffin was exposed in the 1980s, so long ago that the group stopped sending out warnings about him, thinking he had been forced into retirement.
"Our impression was that known people like Griffin would have been put out of commission a long time ago," Shulman said. "We certainly didn't think that they were still out there doing this. If they are still involved, it's alarming, and it should a wake-up call to these governments."
Farah Stockman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
? Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
Nuclear Necessity in Putin's Russia
What purpose do nuclear weapons serve in today's Russia? More than a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians still deploy more than 5,000 warheads on strategic nuclear-weapon systems. Additionally, they might deploy more than 3,000 nonstrategic warheads, and there are as many as 18,000 warheads either in reserve or in a queue awaiting dismantlement. This enormous capability is available to Kremlin leaders, but it is a very good question what they can do with it.
Clearly, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to see some political and diplomatic benefit to the weapons. It was no accident that in February--only one month before Putin successfully won re-election--the Russian military staged an all-out nuclear exercise that harkened back to the Cold War. Much of the short-term political payoff was lost, of course, when, with Putin in ceremonial attendance and cameras rolling, the navy twice failed to launch ballistic missiles from its strategic strike submarine. Still, the Russian president also announced plans for a new strategic weapon system, one that, from the evidence of media reports, involves maneuvering warheads that were first developed in response to President Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense system in the 1980s.
By overseeing the exercise, Putin was able to look presidential, recalling the days of Soviet power for at least the portion of his electorate nostalgic for it. Also, he was able to say to the U.S. administration recently critical of him, "You cannot ignore Russia." Finally, he was able to highlight for the Russian armed forces that he was paying attention, celebrating their stature as a national institution. Even with the missteps, the exercise thus was a political boon to Putin--not that he needed it in his landslide election victory. Still, Russia's dilemmas about its nuclear arsenal extend well beyond the ramifications of these election-year events.
During much of his first term, Putin and his military and foreign policy advisers struggled with what to make of the Cold War-sized nuclear arsenal they inherited. Like Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, they pondered whether this arsenal could offer security benefits in a world where the Kremlin's most likely adversaries were no longer another nuclear weapons superpower, but terrorists and separatists. They tested whether Moscow could leverage these weapons to diplomatic advantage and "throw its nuclear weight around." They probed whether it was possible to redirect the resources of the nuclear arsenal to other purposes.
As Putin begins his second term, however, many of these questions appear to have been at least partially answered. A combination of military necessity and domestic political benefits have combined with the demise of certain constraints, specifically START II, to convince Putin and his top aides that Russia should continue to depend on nuclear weapons. In fact, the Kremlin has drawn this conclusion even though Russian officials implicitly acknowledge such weaponry will do little to counter the main threats to their security.
To illustrate this point: the recent exercise mimicked one last seen in 1982, when the Soviet Union was at the height of its efforts to achieve nuclear war-fighting prowess and bolster its deterrent against the United States. Russia's official comment, however, placed the 2004 exercise in a context quite different from Cold War deterrence. According to official sources, the exercises were planned to counter the threat of terrorism.
Given the massive display of nuclear capability and the evident focus on the United States, this explanation at best seemed far-fetched: would the United States somehow be involved in a terrorist attack and have to be punished for pursuing that course? More likely, the Russian military was simply reaching for its default option, a well-known threat scenario and, at least in the old days, a well-practiced response.
A Missed Opportunity
It did not have to turn out this way. Beginning in the late 1990s, the role of strategic nuclear weapons in Russian national security was at the center of a bureaucratic battle over post-Cold War military reforms--a debate that could have turned out very differently. The battle featured two key players, Marshal Igor Sergeyev, a former commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) who was named minister of defense in May 1997, and Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin, putatively his senior deputy. Sergeyev favored a strong role for strategic nuclear weapons in Russia's military policy. Kvashnin wanted the Kremlin to put its emphasis on strengthening the conventional armed forces for regional conflicts such as the war in Chechnya.
Under Yelstin, Sergeyev got his way, seeking and gaining approval from the Security Council to create a Strategic Deterrence Force. This force would combine the strategic nuclear capabilities in the SRF with those of the navy and air force, together with certain other early warning and command and control assets, including Russian reconnaissance satellites in space. In this way, it would form an integrated strategic command similar to the Strategic Command being formed during a similar period in the United States.
This "victory" for the strategic forces was short-lived. By April 2000, the fierce debate between Sergeyev and Kvashnin had broken into the open. Kvashnin apparently went around Sergeyev to suggest to Putin, who had only recently ascended to the presidency, that the SRF should be downgraded as a separate service and folded into the air force. Sergeyev responded sharply and openly to this proposal, angrily insisting that it be withdrawn. Only three months after being sworn in, Putin was faced with the unprecedented task of rebuking his two top military men for their public disagreement.
By August, however, Putin seemed to be deciding in Kvashnin's favor. Through the summer, he fired several generals who were seen as allies of Sergeyev. Then, at a Security Council meeting in August, he gave lip service to the continued need for strong nuclear forces but otherwise placed emphasis squarely on strengthening the conventional forces. The notion of a Strategic Deterrence Force was officially dead; indeed the SRF were to be subordinated to the air force.
This outcome to the debate seemed to foretell a permanent victory for Kvashnin. Russian military policy seemed to be heading in the direction of a profound and unprecedented "denuclearization." A keystone of Kvashnin's concept was that the Russian Federation no longer needed to maintain nuclear parity with the United States but could succeed at deterring U.S. aggression with a minimal nuclear force. Kvashnin proposed, for example, to move from 756 land-based ICBMs to 150 by 2003. Although Western analysts called this idea "strategic decoupling," Russian experts such as Vladimir Dvorkin, a retired SRF general and eminent modeler of the strategic forces, called it "a gross strategic mistake."
Repercussions of U.S. Policy
Within two years, a U.S. policy decision helped restore the status of the strategic nuclear forces. In December 2001, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The Russian Federation responded with restraint, officially calling the withdrawal a "mistake" but not reacting with immediate political or military countermoves. The Kremlin did, however, what it had long warned it would do: it stated that it would not implement the START II treaty cutting the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. By doing so, Russian officials said they would have the flexibility to counter future U.S. missile defenses that might impact the effectiveness of their strategic arsenal.
In deciding not to implement START II, which had never concluded its ratification process and had not entered into force, Russian officials were able to opt out of that treaty's ban on multiple-warhead land-based missiles (so-called MIRVed ICBMs). Instead of retiring such missiles, the Kremlin decided that it would continue deploying them for at least a decade.
In this new strategic landscape, Russian experts began talking increasingly about strategic modernization "on the cheap," looking for ways to sustain a modern strategic nuclear force and still accomplish urgently needed improvements to the conventional forces. Dvorkin, for example, spoke about putting multiple warheads on the Topol-M, the new Russian ICBM that had been designed with a single warhead to conform with START II. Yet even without such measures, the failure of START II meant that the Kremlin no longer had an urgent requirement to modernize their strategic forces, because they could maintain the deployment of earlier generations of multiple warhead missiles. The Russian nuclear arsenal was very far indeed from Kvashnin's stated goal of 150 land-based ICBMs by 2003--Sergeyev seemed to have been vindicated.
Putin and his top advisers made the shift plain in October 2003. At a meeting with top-ranking military leaders, Putin seemed to be saying that the time for upheaval was over when he announced, "We are moving from radical reforms to deliberate, future-oriented development of the armed forces." Sergei Ivanov, a Putin ally and civilian who had been sworn in as defense minister in April 2001, also seemed to call a halt to the roller-coaster debate over defense reform, asserting that the Russian army had already adapted to new realities. No longer, Ivanov said, would the Russian army have to consider global nuclear war or a large-scale conventional war as the most likely contingencies. Therefore, nuclear and conventional forces had already been trimmed substantially.
Accompanying these statements was a reconfirmation that Russia was taking steps to maintain the capability of its strategic nuclear arsenal. Ivanov underscored the fact that the strategic nuclear forces would retain essentially the same composition as they had had during the Cold War years. "Russia retains a significant number of land-based strategic missiles....I am speaking here about the most menacing missiles, of which we have dozens, with hundreds of warheads," he said.
Whether October 2003 represented an accurate time to declare the reform of the Russian armed forces complete seems doubtful. Even by the evidence that Putin and Ivanov presented in their public comments, reform still was a work in progress. Nevertheless, it is possible to point to a "settling out" of the relationship between the nuclear forces and the conventional forces. Neither Kvashnin, in his insistence on a "denuclearization" of the Russian armed forces, nor Sergeyev, with his emphasis on strong strategic nuclear forces and investment to match, had been precisely right. Each, however, had been to some measure correct.
The compromise path, as noted above, was engineered through the demise of START II. Relieved of START II constraints, the Russian Federation found a way to retain strategic nuclear weapons "on the cheap," thus freeing up funding for conventional force modernization. With the competition resolved, perhaps progress on reforming conventional forces could accelerate.
Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons
This resolution, at least for the time being, of the debate about the relationship and primacy of strategic nuclear and conventional forces does not address the place of nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Russian military doctrine. One of the oddest aspects of the Sergeyev-Kvashnin debate was that both of those military leaders as well as other Russian military experts shared and continue to share a theoretical consensus on the utility of nonstrategic nuclear weapons to counter Russian conventional weakness.
In April 2000, a new version of Russian military doctrine was issued, consistent with earlier versions except in its emphasis on the importance of using nuclear weapons to deter and counter attacks on Russian territory. This doctrine had been preceded, in January 2000, by a new National Security Concept that emphasized the same point. In describing the concept, Ivanov, who was then secretary of the Security Council, spoke about the nuclear issue: "Russia never said and is not saying now that it will be the first to use nuclear weapons, but at the same time, Russia is not saying that it will not use nuclear weapons if it is exposed to a full-scale aggression which leads to an immediate threat of a break-up and [to] Russia's existence in general."
The doctrine stressed that even a conventional attack on targets that the Russians considered of strategic importance on their own territory could bring forth a nuclear counterattack anywhere in the theater of military operations. The exercise Zapad-99 showed exactly the type of scenario that underpinned this doctrine. Enemy forces (and NATO was heavily implied, in alliance with regional opponents of Russia) were beginning to overrun Russian territory. At the same time, they were using high-precision conventional weapons to attack strategic targets, such as nuclear power plants, on Russian territory. In response, Russia launched bombers armed with nuclear air-launched cruise missiles against enemy territory.
The greatest innovation of the January 2000 National Security Concept was the suggestion that nonstrategic nuclear weapons might be used in a limited way to counter a conventional attack, without spurring a major escalation to all-out nuclear use. The concept essentially restated long-standing policy, renewing the mission of the nuclear forces to deter any attack--nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional--against the territory of the Russian Federation.
The notion that a limited nuclear response could be used to de-escalate conflict was a departure from long-standing Soviet era doctrine, which tended to stress the inevitability of rapid escalation as a counter to the U.S. position. During that era, the United States stated that it might have to use nuclear weapons in a limited way to counter an overwhelming Soviet conventional attack on Western Europe. The arrival of this idea in Russian nuclear policy seems to indicate that the shoe was now on the other foot: it was now Russia that might have to contemplate the limited use of nuclear weapons to compensate for its weakness against a determined and overwhelming regional aggressor.
Thus, a major new trend was emerging in Russian nuclear security policy: Nuclear weapons would not only be used in a large-scale coalition war involving exchanges with a major power such as the United States. They might also be used in conflicts on Russia's periphery if the Russians decided that they had no other option to counter a weapon of mass destruction attack involving chemical or biological weapons. They might also be used to counter attacks by small-scale but capable conventional forces impacting targets that Russia considers to be of strategic importance.
This latter use, it is worth stressing, had earlier antecedents. As early as the mid-1980s, the Soviets were becoming concerned about what they termed "strategic conventional attacks" against Soviet territory. In that era, they worried about the new U.S. long-range land-attack cruise missiles that were capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear warheads. The Soviets complained at the time that they would not be able to distinguish between a nuclear and conventional attack and would therefore either have to treat the attack as nuclear or lose their opportunity to launch on tactical warning. In this way, "strategic" conventional weapons might deprive them of their options to limit damage from a nuclear attack.
At the time, the Soviets were not stressing the "de-escalatory" nature of limited nuclear response options. In fact, they tended to threaten that a cruise missile attack on Soviet territory, even if it turned out to be conventional, could lead to all-out nuclear war. They did claim, however, that such response options would be consistent with Soviet no-first-use policy because they would be responding on warning of what appeared to be a nuclear attack; once their opponent had launched such an attack, they were justified to respond. Even if the cruise missile turned out to be conventionally armed, they would have been responding to "nuclear" warning.
Thus, when the Russians talk about using their nuclear forces against "terrorists," they are falling back on some established traditions but also on the military reality that their conventional forces are not yet ready to confront new threats to the Russian Federation. Yet, it not likely that terrorist decision-makers will be deterred by nuclear weapons. Rather than bolstering Russian defenses against terrorism, the ineffectual nature of nuclear forces for this mission only highlights the continued weakness of the Russian armed forces overall.
The Russians seem to be drawing a measure of security from their nuclear capability and are doing it "on the cheap." One problem will arise if that security becomes synonymous with the current high numbers of nuclear weapons and the Russian government decides it will no longer work to reduce its vast holdings of nuclear weapons and materials. At the moment, Russia seems to be taking seriously its commitments under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) to reduce operational deployments of strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700-2,200 by 2012. For example, despite their decision to maintain some older systems, they are eliminating SS-18s at the rate of two to three regiments a year, blowing up silos so that the reductions are irreversible. As long as the Russians remain committed to reductions, their continuing dependence on nuclear forces is not a problem.
A problem will arise if the Russians decide that they must begin to modernize their nuclear capability, developing and building new nuclear warheads and possibly testing them. This direction looked possible in 2003 as high-level officials made obscure references to the need for new "strategic weapons." Putin, for example, remarked approvingly about new strategic capabilities in his "State of the Union" address in May, but it was unclear whether he was talking about new advanced conventional weapons or new nuclear weapons.
U.S. policy may have had some impact on these decisions. For example, Putin announced a new strategic system in February 2004, the resurrection of a Soviet-era maneuvering warhead project that had been originally designed to counter the U.S. Star Wars program. With the United States moving toward deployment of a national missile defense system, Putin perhaps wanted to reassure his military that important technological countermeasures were "in the works."
Yet, U.S. plans to deploy missile defenses, and research and potentially deploy new nuclear weapons, have also prompted assertions from some Russian officials that they will not seek to match U.S. efforts. Russian officials have stated clearly, "We will not chase after you." They seem to believe that existing Russian nuclear deployments could counter any new U.S. capabilities, offensive or defensive, for the foreseeable future. No need for panic, they convey, we will not be surprised or overwhelmed by new developments in the United States.
Thus, Russian nuclear policy looking into the future is an interesting admixture. It combines military necessity--an insurance policy against conventional weakness--with a political expression of national pride. The celebration of the nuclear forces has also served a reassurance function, conveying that the leadership, and particularly Putin, value the military's contribution to Russia's future.
A key question for the international community, and indeed for the United States, is whether Russia's nuclear capabilities and emotional investment in such weapons might be tapped for larger purposes than Russian domestic politics. It is often said that nuclear weapons give Russia a seat at the diplomatic table. Indeed, Russia's status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is linked to its status as a nuclear-weapon state under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
To be sure, Russia's nuclear weapons give it a stronger role on the world stage than its economy or political heft would otherwise warrant, and Russia's pride in this role should be harnessed to accomplish larger international goals. For example, the Russians might be asked to use their nuclear expertise more fully in the fight against proliferation. Recently, they have shown a willingness to take a firmer hand with Iran over the supply of fuel to the Bushehr reactor project. Can such firmness be extended both with Iran and to other proliferation tough cases? Can Russia in fact become a full partner to the United States in the fight against proliferation?
Consider the example of North Korea. Having provided nuclear research reactors and power technology to North Korea in the first place, Russia has significant first-hand knowledge of the foundations of the North Korean program. Moreover, Russia has indicated an interest in serving as an international repository for spent nuclear fuel. If North Korea has not reprocessed all of its 8,000 nuclear fuel rods, it might be convinced to hand them over for storage at an international site, along with whatever plutonium has been produced. Because of its involvement with the North Korean program and its geographic proximity, Russia could provide the site for these materials.
The Russians, with the help of the United States, could also lead by example. For example, the Russian Federation could accelerate reductions in its nuclear arsenal and the nuclear materials that underpin it. Although the current U.S. administration does not seem interested in reductions beyond those enshrined in the SORT, there are good reasons to pursue them. In particular, controlling and eliminating nuclear assets is the best way to keep them out of the hands of terrorists and regimes inimical to the international order. This goal is particularly relevant to nonstrategic or tactical nuclear weapons. Up to this point, such weapons have not been subject to formal arms control agreements, but they are likely to be among the nuclear assets most attractive and accessible to terrorists.
Even if the United States and Russia do not immediately turn their attention to new nuclear arms reductions, they could reinvigorate joint efforts to protect, control, and account for nuclear materials. An early joint effort, called the Trilateral Initiative because of the involvement of the International Atomic Energy Agency along with the United States and Russia, made some progress on joint nuclear material protection in the 1990s but then stalled over implementation costs and related issues. Russia and the United States could quickly reinvigorate this initiative, thus providing some important impetus to international efforts to control nuclear materials.
Likewise, the United States and Russia promised each other, at the time the SORT was signed in May 2002, that they would examine new measures of transparency that would facilitate implementation of the treaty. Some of the most important of such measures could relate to monitoring warheads in storage. Both Russian and U.S. experts have spent considerable time jointly developing the technologies and procedures that would be necessary to monitor warhead storage, and this agenda could quickly be developed. These steps could apply equally to strategic and nonstrategic nuclear warheads if the two countries should decide to pursue joint measures that would control and account for both types.
The United States will have to make some effort to allow Russia to assume the role of a more equal partner on nonproliferation policy. Washington is accustomed, for example, to thinking of Russia more as a proliferation problem than part of the solution. Indeed, Russia's insistence on selling nuclear reactors to unpalatable customers such as Iran and Libya has meant that it has been continually under suspicion as a proliferator itself. Nevertheless, the center of the proliferation sales network seems to have been in Pakistan rather than Russia. Thus, if the United States is willing to continue the difficult work of improving Russian export control laws and other regulations, Russia could develop into a reliable nonproliferation partner.
Likewise, on the arms control front, Russian weakness and distraction have often meant that the United States has taken the lead in advancing new initiatives. The SORT, for example, was based on a U.S. concept, although the Kremlin insisted that it be signed as a legally binding treaty rather than a political commitment. In the future, Washington may find itself as the only partner volunteering new ideas, such as further reductions in strategic nuclear forces or a withdrawal of nonstrategic nuclear weapons from NATO Europe. Even if such initiatives are advanced on a voluntary basis rather than in the context of a negotiation, they can be designed to draw forth a positive response from the Russian side.
The United States and Russian Federation have a long history of working together to solve nuclear problems, particularly in the realm of nuclear arms reductions. For the time being, Russian nuclear weapons must compensate in part for its weakness. However, Russia's nuclear capabilities also mean that it can be somewhat self-confident in the international arena, turning its knowledge, expertise, and resources to serve the country's larger goals. With sufficient U.S. cooperation and encouragement, Putin might be able to provide a new and positive answer to the question of what purpose nuclear weapons serve in today's Russia.
1. According to information published by the Arms Control Association, as of July 31, 2003, strategic nuclear forces of the former Soviet Union totaled 5,286 nuclear warheads (2,922 ICBMs, 1,732 SLBMs, and 632 bombers). This information is based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and the Russian Federation of July 31, 2003. Arms Control Association, "Current Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Former Soviet Union," February 2004, available at www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/sovforces.asp. See also Natural Resources Defense Council, "Table of USSR/Russian Nuclear Warheads," November 25, 2002, www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab10.asp.
2. Ivan Safronov, "Russia Will Play Out a Nuclear Game With Itself," Kommersant, January 30, 2004.
3. The inception of the Strategic Deterrence Forces is described in Jacob W. Kipp, "Russia's Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons," Military Review, May-June 2001, available at http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/fmsopubs/issues/russias_nukes/russias_nukes.htm.
4. David Hoffmann, "Putin Tries to Stop Feuding in the Military," The Washington Post, July 15, 2000, p. 14. A good summation of Russian commentary on the debate is contained in Nikolai Sokov, "`Denuclearization' of Russia's Defense Policy?" July 17, 2000, available at www.cns.miis.edu/pubs/reports/denuke.htm. Another good precis of the debate is Philipp C. Bleek, "Russia Ready to Reduce to 1,500 Warheads, Addressing Dispute Over Strategic Forces' Fate," Arms Control Today, September 2000.
5. For a good review of Russian sources on this point, see Sokov, "'Denuclearization' of Russia's Defense Policy?"
6. Vladimir Dvorkin, "Russia Needs a Transparent Development Programme for Its Strategic Nuclear Forces," Vremya Novostei, No. 1, January 2003, translated in the CDI Russia Weekly, No. 240, Center for Defense Information, Washington, DC.
7. According to some analysts, SS-18s and SS-19s could be refurbished and maintained well beyond their guaranteed life span, perhaps until 2020 or even beyond. General Yury Kirillov, chief of the SRF Military Academy, said that, "[c]onsidering Russia's economic capabilities, the preservation of Russia's nuclear potential requires a maximum possible extension of the service life of the RS-20 and RS-18 MIRVed missile complexes." (The NATO designators for these missiles are the SS-18 and SS-19.) Interview with Colonel General Yury Kirillov, "Possibly It's Time to Advance the Idea of a Nuclear Deterrence Safeguards Treaty," Yadernyy Kontrol, November-December 2002, translated in FBIS-SOV-2003-0114, October 5, 2002.
8. Discussion among Aleksandr Golts, Sergey Parkhomenko, and Vladimir Dvorkin, Ekho Moskvy Radio, May 21, 2002, available at www.echo.msk.ru/interview/8529.html.
9. Lenta.RU, available at http://vip.lenta.ru/fullstory/2003/10/02/doctrine/index.htm.
10. Viktor Litovkin, "Security is Best Achieved Through Coalition: Russia's New Military Doctrine Highlights Community of Goals with the World," www.cdi.org/russia/276-6.cfm.
11. Simon Saradzhyan, "Putin Beefs Up ICBM Capacity," The Moscow Times, October 3, 2003. See also Jeremy Bransten, "Russia: Putin Talks Up Power of Nuclear Arsenal," RFE/RL, available at www.rferl.org/nca/features/2003/10/03102003170748.asp.
12. "Security Council Chief Says New Concept `Unique,'" ITAR-TASS, February 24, 2000, in FBIS-SOV-2000-0224. The doctrine may be found at "Voyennaya doktrina Rossiiskoi Federatsii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 22, 2000, available at http://ng.ru/printed/politics/2000-04-22/5_doktrina.html.
13. For a useful commentary on the link between Zapad-99 and the Security Concept, see Nikolai Sokov, "Russia's New National Security Concept: The Nuclear Angle," CNS Reports, January 19, 2000, available at http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/reports/sokov2.htm.
14. For a discussion of this period in Soviet doctrine, see Rose Gottemoeller, "Land-Attack Cruise Missiles," Adelphi Paper, No. 226 (Winter 1987/88): 18-19.
15 It should be noted that, when the Russian government refers to "terrorists," it often is describing separatists from the breakaway republic of Chechnya, who may or may not be engaging in nonstate terrorist activities. To the extent that Chechen politicians ascribe to the responsibilities of government leadership, they might be subject to some aspects of deterrence, especially of a nuclear kind.
16. President Vladimir Putin's Annual Address to the Federal Assembly, May 16, 2003. Then-Deputy Prime Minister Alyoshin asserted after the president's speech that Putin was talking about a new strategic command and control system to allow "the use of in-depth space, air and earth systems," not new nuclear weapons. See Natalia Slavina, "Deputy Premier Says Russia Government to Pursue Tasks of Putin's Address," ITAR-TASS, May 16, 2003, transcribed in FBIS-SOV-2003-0516. See also "Russian Deputy Premier Calls for Developing IT-Intensive Weapon Systems," Moscow Interfax, May 16, 2003, in FBIS-SOV-2003-0516.
17. Conversations with author, Moscow, January 2004.
18. This idea was advanced by Russian participants in a joint project of the U.S. National Academy of Scientists and the Russian Academy of Sciences on the future of nonproliferation coo=peration. See National Research Council of the National Academies, "Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Report of a Workshop," February 2004, pp. 1-10.
Rose Gottemoeller is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she holds a joint appointment with the Russian and Eurasian Program and the Global Policy Program. Before joining Carnegie in October 2000, Gottemoeller was deputy undersecretary for defense nuclear nonproliferation in the Department of Energy.
RUSSIE Le pr?sident fran?ais a salu? la brillante r??lection de son homologue et le progr?s des r?formes
Chirac, partenaire inconditionnel de Poutine
Le pr?sident Jacques Chirac a annonc? que le pr?sident russe avait confirm? sa pr?sence en Normandie lors des c?r?monies marquant le 60e anniversaire du d?barquement alli? en France.
Krasnoznamensk : de notre envoy?e sp?ciale Laure Mandeville
[05 avril 2004]
L'arriv?e hier de Jacques Chirac et de quelques minibus remplis de journalistes dans la ville ferm?e de Krasnoznamensk, lieu d'une base militaire et spatiale russe qui ne figura longtemps sur aucune carte d'URSS, n'a pas sembl? susciter d'?motion particuli?re de la part des 25 000 habitants qui y vivent toujours en vase clos, ? 45 kilom?tres de Moscou.
On aurait pu se croire ?back in the USSR? dans ce d?cor tr?s sovi?tique de barres d'immeubles d?cr?pis d?pendant du minist?re de la D?fense. A l'entr?e de la ville secr?te, d?limit?e par de hautes grilles et un poste de contr?le, un L?nine de bronze, le bras lev?, regardait vers l'horizon, tandis que des ?babouchkas? faisaient tranquillement leurs courses.
C'?tait pourtant la premi?re fois qu'un chef d'Etat ?tranger p?n?trait dans le principal centre de commande des satellites militaires russes. Une symbolique destin?e ? donner un lustre tout particulier ? la visite de quelques heures de Jacques Chirac ; et ? montrer l'importance que la Russie accorde ? la relation avec la France. ?Ce geste r?v?le le niveau de transparence et de confiance auquel nous sommes arriv?s?, a d'ailleurs soulign? le pr?sident Poutine, qui s'est r?joui ?des perspectives de coop?ration ouvertes par Paris et Moscou? dans le domaine du spatial et de l'a?ronautique.
Le pr?sident Jacques Chirac affichant, malgr? une mine soucieuse, des dispositions d'esprit tout aussi excellentes que son partenaire russe, la journ?e a ?t? l'occasion d'un festival de congratulations mutuelles. ?Je suis tr?s heureux de pouvoir f?liciter le pr?sident Poutine pour sa brillante r??lection ? la t?te de la Russie?, a lanc? le pr?sident fran?ais ? son h?te, sans ?mettre de r?serve sur le verrouillage m?diatique et politique spectaculaire qui a pr?sid? ? la victoire du pr?sident russe. ?Il y a un lien spontan? et naturel entre nos deux pays, a-t-il poursuivi, d'autant que la Russie s'est engag?e avec beaucoup de succ?s sur la voie des r?formes et de la d?mocratie.?
A l'int?rieur d'un b?timent fleurant bon le neuf, le chef de l'Etat fran?ais venait d'assister ? une sorte de d?monstration du travail qu'effectue le centre de commande de Krasnoznamensk, pour contr?ler la bonne marche des satellites russes et des missiles intercontinentaux. Dans une grande salle aux allures de Futuroscope, il avait pu regarder un grand tableau de bord surmont? d'une carte de Russie, o? s'affichaient les caract?ristiques des satellites en orbite, tandis que le nouveau commandant des forces spatiales russes, tout juste nomm?, commentait un diaporama anim?.
Si l'Irak, le Moyen-Orient, l'Otan et le Kosovo ont ?t? ?voqu?s lors des entretiens r?v?lant ?une totale convergence de vue?, c'est ?? 80%? sur le bilat?ral que se sont concentr?s les deux hommes. ?Nous avons augment? nos ?changes ?conomiques de 25% en un an, un joli succ?s, a lanc? Poutine, rappelant que la relation commerciale et le dialogue ?nerg?tique avec la Russie pourraient avoir des retomb?es ?tr?s concr?tes? pour les Fran?ais, ?en termes de cr?ation d'emplois ou de baisse du prix de l'essence?.
Les deux hommes ont discut? des cons?quences de l'?largissement de l'Union europ?enne pour la Russie, un sujet qui a provoqu? de fortes tensions r?cemment entre Bruxelles et Moscou, qui s'estime l?s? par l'extension des r?gles communautaires ? ses anciens partenaires du Comecon.
Le pr?sident Chirac a rappel? que ?la relation entre l'UE et la Russie est essentielle ? l'?quilibre et la stabilit? du monde de demain? et annonc? des propositions fran?aises et allemandes sur ce th?me pour le prochain sommet Russie-UE, dans un mois ? Moscou. Lors d'un r?cent voyage ? Budapest, Jacques Chirac avait appel? les nouveaux adh?rents de l'Est ? faire preuve de ?compr?hension vis-?-vis de la Russie?. Ces pays, inquiets des d?rives n?o-imp?riales qui s'affirment ? Moscou sont persuad?s que Paris, aveugl? par une vision ?romantique? de la Russie, ne condamne pas avec assez de vigueur les ?carts russes.
Il est vrai que le pr?sident Chirac ne s'est pas ?tendu sur les sujets qui f?chaient, ne mentionnant la guerre de Tch?tch?nie qu'? la demande d'une journaliste, et associant ce conflit directement ? la ?lutte contre le terrorisme?, comme le font syst?matiquement les Russes.
THE OTHER WAR
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Why Bush's Afghanistan problem won't go away.
Issue of 2004-04-12
In December, 2002, a year after the Taliban had been driven from power in Afghanistan, Donald Rumsfeld gave an upbeat assessment of the country's future to CNN's Larry King. "They have elected a government. . . . The Taliban are gone. The Al Qaeda are gone. The country is not a perfectly stable place, and it needs a great deal of reconstruction funds," Rumsfeld said. "There are people who are throwing hand grenades and shooting off rockets and trying to kill people, but there are people who are trying to kill people in New York or San Francisco. So it's not going to be a perfectly tidy place." Nonetheless, he said, "I'm hopeful, I'm encouraged." And he added, "I wish them well."
A year and a half later, the Taliban are still a force in many parts of Afghanistan, and the country continues to provide safe haven for members of Al Qaeda. American troops, more than ten thousand of whom remain, are heavily deployed in the mountainous areas near Pakistan, still hunting for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed President, exercises little political control outside Kabul and is struggling to undercut the authority of local warlords, who effectively control the provinces. Heroin production is soaring, and, outside of Kabul and a few other cities, people are terrorized by violence and crime. A new report by the United Nations Development Program, made public on the eve of last week's international conference, in Berlin, on aid to Afghanistan, stated that the nation is in danger of once again becoming a "terrorist breeding ground" unless there is a significant increase in development aid.
The turmoil in Afghanistan has become a political issue for the Bush Administration, whose general conduct of the war on terrorism is being publicly challenged by Richard A. Clarke, the former National Security Council terrorism adviser, in a memoir, "Against All Enemies," and in contentious hearings before the September 11th Commission. The Bush Administration has consistently invoked Afghanistan as a success story--an example of the President's determination. However, it is making this claim in the face of renewed warnings, from international organizations, from allies, and from within its own military--notably a Pentagon-commissioned report that was left in bureaucratic limbo when its conclusions proved negative--that the situation there is deteriorating rapidly.
In his book, Clarke depicts the victory in Afghanistan as far less decisive than the Administration has portrayed it, and he sharply criticizes the Pentagon's tactics, especially the decision to rely on airpower, and not U.S. troops on the ground, in the early weeks. The war began on October 7, 2001, but, he wrote, not until seven weeks later did the United States "insert a ground force unit (Marines) to take and hold a former al Qaeda and Taliban facility. . . . The late-November operation did not include any effort by U.S. forces to seal the border with Pakistan, snatch the al Qaeda leadership, or cut off the al Qaeda escape."
Clarke told me in an interview last week that the Administration viewed Afghanistan as a military and political backwater--a detour along the road to Iraq, the war that mattered most to the President. Clarke and some of his colleagues, he said, had repeatedly warned the national-security leadership that, as he put it, "you can't win the war in Afghanistan with such a small effort." Clarke continued, "There were more cops in New York City than soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. We had to have a security presence coupled with a development program in every region and stay there for several months."
In retrospect, Clarke said, he believes that the President and his men did not respond for three reasons: "One, they did not want to get involved in Afghanistan like Russia did. Two, they were saving forces for the war in Iraq. And, three, Rumsfeld wanted to have a laboratory to prove his theory about the ability of small numbers of ground troops, coupled with airpower, to win decisive battles." As of today, Clarke said, "the U.S. has succeeded in stabilizing only two or three cities. The President of Afghanistan is just the mayor of Kabul."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Collins, a Pentagon expert on Afghanistan, acknowledged that it was only in the past several months that "significant money began to flow" into Afghanistan for reconstruction and security. "We found in the security area we were doing the right thing, but not fast enough," he told me. The resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Collins said, did not begin until early last year. "They began to realize at the end of 2003 that the key is not to fight our soldiers but U.N. officials and aid workers." In the long run, Collins added, "these tactics are self-defeating--in Afghanistan and in Iraq."
Clarke's view of what went wrong was buttressed by an internal military analysis of the Afghanistan war that was completed last winter. In late 2002, the Defense Department's office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (solic) asked retired Army Colonel Hy Rothstein, a leading military expert in unconventional warfare, to examine the planning and execution of the war in Afghanistan, with an understanding that he would focus on Special Forces. As part of his research, Rothstein travelled to Afghanistan and interviewed many senior military officers, in both Special Forces and regular units. He also talked to dozens of junior Special Forces officers and enlisted men who fought there. His report was a devastating critique of the Administration's strategy. He wrote that the bombing campaign was not the best way to hunt down Osama bin Laden and the rest of the Al Qaeda leadership, and that there was a failure to translate early tactical successes into strategic victory. In fact, he wrote, the victory in Afghanistan was not, in the long run, a victory at all.
Last month, I visited Rothstein in his office at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, California, where he is a senior lecturer in defense analysis. A fit, broad-shouldered man in his early fifties, he served more than twenty years in the Army Special Forces, including three years as the director of plans and exercises for the Joint Special Operations Command, at Fort Bragg, before retiring, in 1999. His associates depicted him as anything but a dissident. "He puts boots on the ground," Robert Andrews, a former head of solic, told me, referring to Rothstein's missions in Central America, for which he earned a decoration for valor, and in the former Yugoslavia. Rothstein agreed to speak to me, with some reluctance, only after I had obtained his report independently, and he would not go into details about his research. "They asked me to do this," he said of the Pentagon, "and my purpose was to make some things better. All I want people to do is to look at the paper and not at me. I'll tell you the good and the bad."
The report describes a wide gap between how Donald Rumsfeld represented the war and what was actually taking place. Rumsfeld had told reporters at the start of the Afghanistan bombing campaign, Rothstein wrote, that "you don't fight terrorists with conventional capabilities. You do it with unconventional capabilities." In December, the Taliban and Al Qaeda retreated into the countryside as the armies of the Northern Alliance, supported by American airpower and Special Forces troops, moved into the capital. There were many press accounts of America's new way of waging war, including well-publicized reports of American Special Forces on horseback and of new technologies, like the Predator drones. Nonetheless, Rothstein wrote, the United States continued to emphasize bombing and conventional warfare while "the war became increasingly unconventional," with Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters "operating in small cells, emerging only to lay land mines and launch nighttime rocket attacks before disappearing once again." Rothstein added:
What was needed after December 2001 was a greater emphasis on U.S. special operations troops, supported by light infantry, conducting counterinsurgency operations. Aerial bombardment should have become a rare thing. . . . The failure to adjust U.S. operations in line with the post-Taliban change in theater conditions cost the United States some of the fruits of victory and imposed additional, avoidable humanitarian and stability costs on Afghanistan. . . . Indeed, the war's inadvertent effects may be more significant than we think.
By the end of 2001, the Afghan war had essentially become a counterinsurgency. At this point, it was important to turn to a specific kind of unconventional warfare: "The Special Forces were created to deal with precisely this kind of enemy," Rothstein wrote. "Unorthodox thinking, drawing on a thorough understanding of war, demography, human nature, culture and technology are part of this mental approach. . . . Unconventional warfare prescribes that Special Forces soldiers must be diplomats, doctors, spies, cultural anthropologists, and good friends--all before their primary work comes into play."
Instead, Rothstein said, "the command arrangement evolved into a large and complex structure that could not (or would not) respond to the new unconventional setting." The result has been "a campaign in Afghanistan that effectively destroyed the Taliban but has been significantly less successful at being able to achieve the primary policy goal of ensuring that al Qaeda could no longer operate in Afghanistan."
Rothstein wrote that Rumsfeld routinely responded to criticism about civilian casualties by stating that "some amount" of collateral damage "is inevitable in war." It is estimated that more than a thousand Afghan civilians were killed by bombing and other means in the early stages of the war. Rothstein suggested that these numbers could have been lower, and that further incidents might have been avoided if Special Forces had been allowed to wage a truly unconventional war that reduced the reliance on massive firepower.
The Administration's decision to treat the Taliban as though all its members identified with, and would fight for, Al Qaeda was also a crucial early mistake. "There were deep divisions within the Taliban that could have been exploited through a political-military effort which is the essence of unconventional warfare," Rothstein said. "A few months of intensive diplomatic, intelligence and military preparations between Special Forces and anti-Taliban forces would have made a significant difference."
Instead, Rothstein wrote, the American military campaign left a power vacuum. The conditions under which the post-Taliban government came to power gave "warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life." He concluded, "Defeating an enemy on the battlefield and winning a war are rarely synonymous. Winning a war calls for more than defeating one's enemy in battle." He recalled that, in 1975, when Harry G. Summers, an Army colonel who later wrote a history of the Vietnam War, told a North Vietnamese colonel, "You never defeated us on the battlefield," the colonel replied, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."
Rothstein delivered his report in January. It was returned to him, with the message that he had to cut it drastically and soften his conclusions. He has heard nothing further. "It's a threatening paper," one military consultant told me. The Pentagon, asked for comment, confirmed that Rothstein was told "we did not support all of his conclusions," and said that he would soon be sent notes. In addition, Joseph Collins told me, "There may be a kernel of truth in there, but our experts found the study rambling and not terribly informative." In interviews, however, a number of past and present Bush Administration officials have endorsed Rothstein's key assertions. "It wasn't like he made it up," a former senior intelligence officer said. "The reason they're petrified is that it's true, and they didn't want to see it in writing."
The high point of the American involvement in Afghanistan came in December of 2001, at a conference of various Afghan factions held in Bonn, when the Administration's candidate, Hamid Karzai, was named chairman of the interim government. (His appointment as President was confirmed six months later at a carefully orchestrated Afghan tribal council, known as a Loya Jirga.) It was a significant achievement, but there were major flaws in the broader accord. There was no agreement on establishing an international police force, no procedures for collecting taxes, no strategy for disarming either the many militias or individual Afghans, and no resolution with the Taliban.
Then came Iraq. In interviews with academics, aid workers, and non-governmental-organization officials, I was repeatedly told that, within a few months of the Bonn conference, as the United States began its buildup in the Gulf, security and political conditions throughout Afghanistan eroded. In the early summer of 2002, a military consultant, reflecting the views of several American Special Forces commanders in the field, provided the Pentagon with a briefing warning that the Taliban and Al Qaeda were adapting quickly to American tactics. "His decision loop has tightened, ours has widened," the briefing said, referring to the Taliban. "He can see us, but increasingly we no longer see him." Only a very few high-level generals listened, and the briefing, like Rothstein's report, changed nothing. By then, some of the most highly skilled Americans were being diverted from Afghanistan. Richard Clarke noted in his memoir, "The U.S. Special Forces who were trained to speak Arabic, the language of al Qaeda, had been pulled out of Afghanistan and sent to Iraq." Some C.I.A. paramilitary teams were also transferred to Iraq.
Meanwhile, the United States continued to pay off and work closely with local warlords, many of whom were involved in heroin and opium trafficking. Their loyalty was not for sale but for rent. Warlords like Hazrat Ali in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, and Mohammed Fahim had been essential to America's initial military success, and, at first, they had promised to accept Karzai. Hazrat Ali would be one of several commanders later accused of double-crossing American troops in an early, unsuccessful sweep for Al Qaeda, in 2002. Fahim, now the defense minister, is deeply involved in a number of illicit enterprises.
The Bush Administration, facing a major war in Iraq, seemed eager to put the war in Afghanistan behind it. In January of 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, made a fifteen-hour visit to Kabul and announced, "We're clearly moving into a different phase, where our priority in Afghanistan is increasingly going to be stability and reconstruction. There's no way to go too fast. Faster is better." There was talk of improving security and rebuilding the Afghan National Army in time for Presidential and parliamentary elections, but little effort to provide the military and economic resources. "I don't think the Administration understood about winning hearts and minds," a former Administration official told me.
The results of the postwar neglect are stark. A leading scholar on Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin, wrote, in this month's Current History, that Afghanistan today "does not have functioning state institutions. It has no genuine army or effective police. Its ramshackle provincial administration is barely in contact with, let alone obedient to, the central government. Most of the country's meager tax revenue has been illegally taken over by local officials who are little more than warlords with official titles." The goal of American policy in Afghanistan "was not to set up a better regime for the Afghan people," Rubin wrote. "The goal instead was to get rid of the terrorist threat against America." The United States enlisted the warlords in its war against terrorism, and "the result was an Afghan government created at Bonn that rested on a power base of warlords."
One military consultant with extensive experience in Afghanistan told me last year, "The real action is at the village level, but we're not there. And we need to be there 24/7. Now we are effectively operating above the conflict. It's the same old story as in Vietnam. We can't hit what we can't see." He added, "From January, 2002, on, we were in the process of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory."
Last summer, a coalition of seventy-nine human-rights and relief organizations wrote an open letter to the international community calling for better security in Afghanistan and warning that the Presidential elections there, now scheduled for September, were imperilled. The letter noted, "For the majority of the Afghan people, security is precarious and controlled by regional warlords, drug traffickers or groups with terrorist associations. The situation is getting worse, and there is no comprehensive plan in place to halt the spiral of violence." Statistics compiled by care International showed that eleven aid workers were murdered in four incidents during a three-week period ending early last month, and the rate of physical assaults on aid workers in Afghanistan more than doubled in January and February compared with the same period in the previous year. Such attacks, a care policy statement suggested, inevitably led to cutbacks in Afghan humanitarian and reconstruction programs. In early 2003, for example, according to the Chicago Tribune, there were twenty-six humanitarian agencies at work in Kandahar, the main Afghan city in the south. By early this year, there were fewer than five.
Even one of the most publicized achievements of the post-Taliban government, the improvements in the lives of women, has been called into question. Judy Benjamin, who served as the gender adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development mission in Kabul in 2002 and 2003, told me, "The legal opportunities have improved, but the day-to-day life for women, even in Kabul, isn't any better. Girls are now legally permitted to go to school and work, but when it comes to the actual family practice, people are afraid to let them go out without burkas." Conditions outside Kabul are far worse, she said. "Families do not allow females to travel--to go to jobs or to school. You cannot go on many roads without being held up by bandits. People are saying they were safer under the Taliban system, which is why the Taliban are getting more support--the lack of safety."
Nancy Lindborg, the executive vice-president of Mercy Corps, one of the major N.G.O.s at work in Afghanistan, had a similar view. Outside of Kabul, she said, "everywhere I go, from Kunduz to Kandahar, I see no change for most women, and security for everybody has fallen apart since November of 2002." The Pentagon's announcements of increased commitments to security and reconstruction were increasingly seen "as a big charade," Lindborg said. "The United States has left Afghanistan to fester for two years."
The humanitarian community is not alone in its concern. In February, Vice-Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, acknowledged during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that the growing Taliban insurgency was targeting humanitarian and reconstruction organizations. Over all, he said, Taliban attacks had "reached their highest levels since the collapse of the Taliban government."
Heroin is among the most immediate--and the most intractable--social, economic, and political problems. "The problem is too huge for us to be able to face alone," Hamid Karzai declared last week in Berlin, as he appealed for more aid. "Drugs in Afghanistan are threatening the very existence of the Afghan state." Drug dealing and associated criminal activity produced about $2.3 billion in revenue last year, according to an annual survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a sum that was equivalent to half of Afghanistan's legitimate gross domestic product. "Terrorists take a cut as well," the U.N. report noted, adding that "the longer this happens, the greater the threat to security within the country."
The U.N. report, published last fall, found that opium production, which, following a ban imposed by the Taliban, had fallen to a hundred and eighty-five metric tons in 2001, soared last year to three thousand six hundred tons--a twentyfold increase. The report declared the nation to be "at a crossroads: either (i) energetic interdiction measures are taken now . . . or (ii) the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and metastasise into corruption, violence and terrorism--within and beyond the country's borders." Afghanistan was once again, the U.N. said, producing three-quarters of the world's illicit opium, with no evidence of a cutback in sight, even though there has been a steady stream of reports from Washington about drug interdictions. The report said that poppy cultivation had continued to spread, and was now reported in twenty-eight of the nation's thirty-two provinces.
Most alarmingly, according to a U.N. survey, nearly seventy per cent of farmers intend to increase their poppy crops in 2004, most of them by more than half. Only a small percentage of farmers were planning any reduction, despite years of international pressure. Many of the areas that the U.N. report identified as likely to see increased production are in regions where the United States has a major military presence.
Despite such statistics, the American military has, for the most part, looked the other way, essentially because of the belief that the warlords can deliver the Taliban and Al Qaeda. One senior N.G.O. official told me, "Everybody knows that the U.S. military has the drug lords on the payroll. We've put them back in power. It's gone so terribly wrong." (The Pentagon's Joseph Collins told me, "Counter-narcotics in Afghanistan has been a failure." Collins said that this year's crop was estimated to be the second largest on record. He added, however, that the Afghan government is planning to "redouble" its efforts on narcotics control, and that the Pentagon is "now putting more money into it for the first time"--seventy-three million dollars.)
The easy availability of heroin also represents a threat to the well-being of American troops. Since the fall of 2002, a number of active-duty and retired military and C.I.A. officials have told me about increasing reports of heroin use by American military personnel in Afghanistan, many of whom have been there for months, with few distractions. A former high-level intelligence officer told me that the problem wasn't the Special Forces or Army combat units who were active in the field but "the logistical guys"--the truck drivers and the food and maintenance workers who are stationed at the military's large base at Bagram, near Kabul. However, I was also told that there were concerns about heroin use within the Marines. The G.I.s assigned to Bagram are nominally confined to the base, for security reasons, but the drugs, the former intelligence officer said, were relayed to the users by local Afghans hired to handle menial duties. The Pentagon's senior leadership has a "head-in-the-sand attitude," he said. "There's no desire to expose it and get enforcement involved. This is hard shit," he added, speaking of heroin. The Pentagon, asked for comment, denied that there was concern about drug use at Bagram, but went on to acknowledge that "disciplinary proceedings were initiated against some U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan for suspected drug use." Asked separately about the allegations against marines, the Pentagon said that some marines had been removed from Afghanistan to face disciplinary proceedings, but blamed alcohol and marijuana rather than heroin.
The drug lords traditionally processed only hashish inside the Afghan borders, and shipped poppies to heroin-production plants in northern Pakistan and elsewhere. A senior U.N. narcotics official told me that in the past two years "most of the heroin has been processed in Afghanistan, as part of a plan to keep profits in-country." Only a fraction of what is produced in Afghanistan is used there, the officer said. Nonetheless, a U.S. government-relief official told me, the "biggest worry" is that the growth in local production will increase the risk of addiction among G.I.s. A former C.I.A. officer who served in Afghanistan also said that the agency's narcotics officials have been independently investigating military drug use.
Afghanistan is regaining the Bush Administration's attention, in part because the worsening situation in Iraq has increased the need for a foreign-policy success. State Department and intelligence officials who have worked in Kabul said that it is widely understood that Afghanistan's Presidential and parliamentary elections, which had already been rescheduled, must be held before the American Presidential elections, on November 2nd. The upside to the political timetable has been a new commitment of American reconstruction funds--more than two billion dollars, a fourfold increase over the previous year--for schools, clinics, and road construction in Afghanistan. Richard Clarke wrote in his memoir that initially the aid funds were "inadequate and slowly delivered," and far below the thirteen hundred and ninety dollars per capita that was spent in the first years of the rebuilding effort in Bosnia and the nearly twenty billion dollars now earmarked for Iraq. At one point in 2002, American aid funds for Afghanistan came to only fifty-two dollars per person. "Why are we getting aid money now?" the U.S. government-relief official said to me, with a laugh. "We've been asking for two years and no one in their right mind thought about getting all this."
In insisting on holding elections by the fall, the Administration is overriding the advice of many of its allies and continuing to bank heavily on Hamid Karzai. (As of this spring, an estimated ten per cent of eligible voters were registered.) Last week, the international conference in Berlin bolstered Karzai's regime, and his election prospects, by promising to provide more than four billion dollars in aid and low-cost loans in the next year--although that figure includes more than a billion dollars previously pledged. Half of the contributions came from the Bush Administration. Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Karzai for having turned Afghanistan from "a failed state, ruled by extremists and terrorists, to a free country with a growing economy and emerging democracy."
Nonetheless, in interviews for this article, Hamid Karzai was consistently depicted by others as unsure of himself and totally dependent on the United States for security and finances. One of Karzai's many antagonists is his own defense minister, Mohammed Fahim. Last year, the Bush Administration was privately given a memorandum by an Afghan official and American ally, warning that Fahim was working to undermine Karzai and would use his control over money from illegal businesses and customs revenue to do so. Fahim was also said to have recruited at least eighty thousand men into new militias.
The United States' continuing toleration of warlords such as Fahim and General Abdul Rashid Dostum--an alleged war criminal and gunrunner who, after being offered millions of dollars by Washington, helped defeat the Taliban in the fall of 2001--mystifies many who have long experience in Afghanistan. "Fahim and Dostum are part of the problem, and not the solution," said Milt Bearden, who ran the C.I.A.'s Afghan operations during the war with the Soviet Union. "These people have the clever gene and they can get us to do their fighting for them. They just lead us down the path," Bearden said. "How wonderful for them to have us knock off their opposition with American airplanes and Special Forces."
The wild card in the election planning may be the Taliban. The former Taliban foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, who spent months in American custody, has repeatedly offered to open a channel to the Taliban leadership for extended talks. "But the Administration only wants to get help in finding Osama bin Laden," a Democratic Senate aide said. "Its only concern is tactical information." Meanwhile, the Taliban's influence has grown throughout the south and east of Afghanistan, in defiance of--or, perhaps, because of--continued American air and ground assaults, which inevitably result in civilian casualties.
In an effort to strengthen Karzai, the American military command has tried to reduce its own reliance on some regional warlords. The most recent target was Ismail Khan, the popular independent governor of Herat, a large province in western Afghanistan, adjacent to Iran. Khan, a bitter enemy of the Taliban, supported the initial American invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. He has since defied the central government and refuses to hand over to Kabul most of the tax and customs revenue. (Herat is an ancient trade center.) Kahn personifies how difficult it is for the U.S. to separate its enemies from its allies in Afghanistan. "If Mohammed Fahim is a government minister and Ismail Khan is a warlord," one American official told me, "you're abusing the language." The official's point was that Khan has provided better security and more stability for the local population than is found in other Afghan provinces, and international observers believe that he would probably win a provincial election. But he treats Herat as a private fiefdom, and has alarmed many in the Bush Administration with his vocal support of Iran; last fall, he was quoted as calling it "the best model of an Islamic country in the world."
One regional expert told me that Karzai--who was always apprehensive about Ismail Khan--raised the question of how to remove him last spring, during a brief visit by Donald Rumsfeld to Kabul. "He asked Rumsfeld for his support," the expert recalled. "Rumsfeld wished him good luck but said the United States could not get involved. So Karzai got cold feet." The issue was revisited again in February, a former C.I.A. consultant told me, by the American military command at Bagram. Sometime that month, the American command put out a request to its intelligence components for a new operational plan for Khan. The former C.I.A. consultant learned from within the intelligence community that there was agreement that Khan had to be neutralized. Asked what that meant, he said that he was told "Khan had to be eliminated--we've got to end his influence." (The Pentagon denied that there was such a plan.)
On March 21st, an armed conflict erupted in Herat between Khan's forces and those loyal to the central government. Accounts of what happened vary widely; it was not immediately clear who started what. According to an account by U.N. workers in Afghanistan, filed to headquarters in New York, tensions had been mounting between Khan and one of his bitter rivals, General Abdul Zaher Naibzadah, over control of the Afghan military's Herat garrison. Khan's son heard reports that there had been an assassination attempt on his father, and drove to the General's house, where Naibzadah's bodyguards gunned him down, along with others. According to the U.N. dispatch, Ismail Khan took violent revenge on his attackers, burning down the local headquarters of the Afghan militia and killing scores. Some press accounts put the death toll of the subsequent daylong battle at a hundred or more; other accounts, emanating from Kabul, said that fewer than two dozen were killed. The U.N. account included reports that a personal phone call from Karzai to Khan was necessary to defuse the situation. In the next days, a division of the Afghan National Army, sent by the central government, moved into Herat to restore order.
There is no evidence that the American commanders were involved in any attempt on Khan's life, the former C.I.A. consultant told me. But, according to some officials, Americans were attached to Afghan military units that were present in Herat. "We clearly had embedded American trainers and advisers with the Afghan troops," the consultant said. "They knew what was going on." The result, the U.N. reported, was that Khan "may become even more intractable in his dealing with the central government." The American-endorsed plan to challenge Khan's leadership and strengthen Karzai's national standing inside Afghanistan, it seemed, had served to make Khan a more determined enemy.
The U.S. government-relief official told me of spending weeks last year travelling through Afghanistan--including the south and the east, areas with few ties to the central government in Kabul. "They'd say, `We don't like the Taliban, but they did bring us security you haven't been able to give us,'" the official said. "They perceived that we were allied with the bad guys--the warlords--because of our war on terrorism." The official recalled being asked constantly about the American war in Iraq. "They were concerned about Iraq, and wanted to know, `Are you going to stay?' They remembered how we left"--after the American-sponsored defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. "They'd say, `You guys are going to leave us, like you did in 1992. If we had confidence in the staying power of America, we'd deal with you.'" The official concluded, "Iraq, in their mind, meant that America had bigger priorities."
One U.N. worker who is helping to prepare for elections in Afghanistan told me that American aid funds now headed into Afghanistan, whatever the Administration's motives, are essential for the country's future. "We've got a golden window of opportunity that will close on November 2nd." It's a cynical process, he added. "A key factor in holding the election will be the non-interference of the various drug-dealing warlords around the nation, and stemming the drug trade will not be a priority." The message he's getting from the warlords, the U.N. worker said, was that if the U.S. attempted a "hard and heavy" poppy-eradication program, the warlords would disrupt the elections.
The U.N. worker said that President Karzai was perceived as "a weak leader with very little street credibility." He told me that, again and again, when he met with village elders, as part of his work, "the old people say, `Hamid is a good man. He doesn't kill people. He doesn't steal things. He doesn't sell drugs. How could you possibly think he could be a leader of Afghanistan?'"
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