What if Iran already has nukes hidden in North Korea?

March 31, 2015

satire nuclear explosion 2

That’s the not so subtle implication of Gordon Chang’s article in The Daily Beast. Much of the article explores the illicit nuclear proliferation network (parts confirmed, others suspected) between Iran, China, North Korea, and (formerly?) Pakistan, dating back nearly fifteen years. But the key portions follow:

In October 2012, Iran began stationing personnel at a military base in North Korea, in a mountainous area close to the Chinese border. The Iranians, from the Ministry of Defense and associated firms, reportedly are working on both missiles and nuclear weapons. Ahmed Vahidi, Tehran’s minister of defense at the time, denied sending people to the North, but the unconfirmed dispatches make sense in light of the two states announcing a technical cooperation pact the preceding month.

(…)

The North Koreans have also sold Iran material for bomb cores, perhaps even weapons-grade uranium. The Telegraph reported that in 2002 a barrel of North Korean uranium cracked open and contaminated the tarmac of the new Tehran airport.

(…)

The relationship between the two regimes has been long-lasting. Hundreds of North Koreans have worked at about 10 nuclear and missile facilities in Iran. There were so many nuclear and missile scientists, specialists, and technicians that they took over their own coastal resort there, according to Henry Sokolski,  the proliferation maven, writing in 2003.

Even if Iran today were to agree to adhere to the Additional Protocol, it could still continue developing its bomb in North Korea, conducting research there or buying North Korean technology and plans. And as North Korean centrifuges spin in both known and hidden locations, the Kim regime will have a bigger stock of uranium to sell to the Iranians for their warheads. With the removal of sanctions, as the P5+1 is contemplating, Iran will have the cash to accelerate the building of its nuclear arsenal.

So while the international community inspects Iranian facilities pursuant to a framework deal, the Iranians could be busy assembling the components for a bomb elsewhere. In other words, they will be one day away from a bomb—the flight time from Pyongyang to Tehran—not one year as American and other policymakers hope.

(Emphasis added)

Think about it. Pretend for a minute you’re one of the Muslim fanatics who rule Iran. Maybe you’re part of the faction that sees it as its duty to bring about the Islamic “end times.” You definitely want to crush the Jews and destroy Israel. You hate America as the Great Satan and see Iran’s Islamic Revolution as the one hope for truly making Allah’s religion supreme. To protect the revolution and fulfill Allah’s goals, you’ve decided Iran needs nuclear weapons.

But the Great and Little Satans (America and Israel) stand in your way. They don’t want you to have these weapons. They are infidels and enemies of Allah. So, to buy yourself the time to make them, you enter into negotiations — not to give anything away, but merely to delay. And, so far, it’s worked. The infidels are weak and anxious for an agreement, so they keep playing along, no matter how outrageous your demands.

And yet there are risks. What if the Zionist Entity (Israel) loses patience and attacks? That might set back your program. What if a new president takes charge in America, one who isn’t afraid to use his nation’s awesome resources to weaken your regime by supporting the opposition, as Reagan did with Poland, or through the direct use of armed force, as they did to Saddam? That could wreck your nuclear dreams, if not overthrow you altogether. How do you guard against that?

Well, like any well-run operation, you have a disaster back up plan. In this case, an offsite nuclear program, parallel to the one in Iran. One so offsite that  it is in another country, an allied nation with a nuclear program of its own and that hates America, too, and is obsessed with security.

A place like North Korea.

This is all speculative, of course, but it is also plausible. It’s what any reasonable person would consider doing in a similar situation. And, while the mullahs are aggressive antisemitic religious fascists, they are not stupid.

Keep your eye out: Iran has been playing hardball in the negotiations, demanding so much that even Obama and Kerry must have been tempted at times to walk out. The deadline for an agreement is coming up: If Iran suddenly and to everyone’s relief makes major concessions, I think the North Korean backup scenario goes from “likely” to “almost certain.”

Sleep well.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The return of the Axis of Evil

January 17, 2011

Michael Ledeen looks at events around the world and sees a coordinated message being sent to the US: we’re going to take you down:

Obama’s getting kicked around from Lebanon to China, but nobody seems to notice the pattern. Why shouldn’t we think that the near-simultaneous attacks — China’s humiliation of Defense Secretary Bob Gates, and Hezbollah’s (that is to say, Iran’s) takedown of the Lebanese government — were coordinated? Or do you believe that the remarkable simultaneity of the events is sheer happenstance?

The two key bad actors — Iran and the People’s Republic of China — are known to be in cahoots. And Syria is one of Iran’s closest allies (some might say it’s a virtual Iranian colony). All three have strong reasons to demonstrate that the United States has opted out of the geopolitical game, or has been effectively stymied by the three. That message is a lot stronger when it’s sent in two separate theaters at the same time than if it has to be inferred from events spread out over weeks and months. It’s like the terrorist strategy of blowing up two targets in separate countries at the same hour, as they did to American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 or on occasion during the fighting in Iraq.

There is every reason to believe that we’re looking at the return of the axis of evil. These are not random events; they’re part of a global pattern aimed at our domination and ultimate destruction. If you read the articles linked above, you’ll find the same “message to the world” in both cases.

But a more recent event, the revolution in Tunisia that’s scaring the pants off dictators across the region, points a way forward against this challenge — standing up again for the American idea, something President Obama seems incapable of doing:

On the other hand, we are the only truly revolutionary country in the world, and — as Obama once unfortunately put it — whether we like it or not, our very existence inspires a lot of the desire for democratic revolution. Many, perhaps even most, of the people in the streets of those countries, are our greatest weapon against the jihadis.

So we should support the revolutionaries. Obama has praised the bravery of the Tunisians, and although he has cravenly refused to do the same for the Iranian people (who, after all, have been fighting tyranny longer, and have paid a far greater price in blood and torture than the Tunisians), logic demands that he now do so.  There is no convenient way for him to praise freedom fighters in one Middle East dictatorship and waffle in baffling generalizations elsewhere. Democratic revolution is ours, and we had best embrace it.

This support doesn’t require military action, which might in fact be counterproductive. But, as the last stages of the Cold War showed under Reagan, America as an ideal can be an inspiration to those fighting oppression, simply by being openly, unashamedly, and loudly in their corner at every opportunity and in every forum. As Natan  Sharansky related in his The Case for Democracy, Reagan’s “evil empire” speech about the Soviet Union echoed through the gulags, inspiring political prisoners to persevere, emboldened by the knowledge they weren’t abandoned. In Poland, the moral support the United States provided was so instrumental to Solidarity’s survival and the fall of Communism there, that statues have been raised to President Reagan and public squares named for him.

The point, of course, is not that Obama should do this for the honors he might get, but that American moral leadership in the cause of human liberty truly has an effect and is a genuine weapon to be wielded against the tyrants in Beijing and Tehran who work against us. It’s about time he started.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good news! Another wacko state wants to go nuclear!

January 5, 2011

What could go wrong?

 

Now the military junta that rules Burma wants the Bomb:

But there is near-smoking gun evidence to substantiate reports of a Burmese nuke project. A major in the army, Sai Thein Win, has defected to the Democratic Voice of Burma, delivering into its hands hundreds of secret documents and photos. The materials reveal the construction of a huge network of underground facilities dating back to 1996 and costing at least $3.5 billion since 2001. This evidence is enough to convince Robert Kelley, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Burma’s junta is working on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities with North Korean assistance.

The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of Australia has published a study reaching the same conclusion. The authors interviewed two defectors who independently confirmed the building of a secret nuclear site, nearby the public site constructed with Russian aid. One defector testified to the presence of about 60 North Koreans at a secret site, which the authors describe as similar in design to the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel in 2007.

The materials obtained by the Democratic Voice of Burma also show that a series of meetings took place in North Korea from the 22nd to the 29th of November in 2008 — meetings that included the Burmese military chief. One cable released by Wikileaks notes that a Burmese official mentioned the chief’s 2008 visit to North Korea in a slip of the tongue.

The organization has put together all the intelligence it has on Burma’s secret nuclear weapons program in the form of a documentary available to the public. For now, the junta is able only to mine uranium and produce yellowcake. One defector says that the regime hopes to be nuclear-capable by 2020. But the authors of the Australian study say Burma could go nuclear by 2014 in the absence of major problems. Rudimentary though it may be, the West should not dismiss Burma’s role in the nuclear Axis of Evil. The junta is in a position to fill one of the gaps in Iran’s nuclear effort. According to one defector, in February 2004 he met with an Iranian intelligence officer and nuclear scientist and received a sample of yellowcake. If this testimony is true, then Iran has already turned to Burma to help relieve its critical shortage of raw uranium.

Moreover, the UN has already confirmed that North Korea is shipping nuclear materials to Burma and using “links with overseas criminal networks to carry out these activities.” Next, corrupt Burmese officials might sell nuclear materials to criminals or terrorists. A September 2008 cable describes a Burmese civilian’s threat to U.S. diplomats to sell uranium-238 to Thailand, China, or other countries if the Americans themselves declined to buy. Claiming he already had 50 kg of Burmese uranium in a barrel, the civilian boasted that he could sell up to 2,000 kg. Another cable from January 2007 describes a suspected shipment of 112 metric tons of uranium ore to China by the Burmese government.

So, not only is Rangoon playing patty-(yellow)cake with North Korea and Iran, but private parties are getting involved. And, similar to the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Persian Gulf if (when) Iran gets its Big Firecracker, a Burmese nuclear capability would give incentive to Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia to get their own… “just in case.”

Not to mention making nuclear-armed India feel surrounded.

And, speaking of rational state-actors,  have I mentioned that the rulers of Burma use astrology to make key national decisions?

I think I need a drink.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bombs on the border

July 18, 2010

A car bomb exploded two days ago, killing police officers and civilians in a terrorist attack. The attack didn’t occur where one might expect, Baghdad or Kabul, but in Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso:

Investigators in Mexico say a deadly attack by suspected drug cartel members in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez was a car bomb set off by mobile phone.

It is believed to be the first attack of its kind since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, promising to curb powerful drugs gangs.

Two police officers and two medics answering an emergency were killed.

Police said the attack was retaliation for the arrest of a leader of the La Linea drug gang, Jesus Acosta Guerrero.

La Linea is part of the Juarez drug cartel.

Here’s a video report from al-Jazeera’s English-language service:

(via Big Peace)

Since Calderon came to power nearly four years ago, roughly 25,000 Mexicans have died in violence related to the drug cartels. So far as is known, this is the first car-bomb attack. President Calderon claims that the violence shows the cartels are panicking, feeling the pressure put on them by his government’s security measures. That may be, but it’s nonetheless true that parts of Mexico, especially the areas that border the United States, are looking more like war zones and out of the central government’s control.

And that’s a problem for us.

We know that jihadist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbullah are trying to exploit our porous Mexican border. Recently Mexican police foiled an attempt to set up a Hizbullah cell in Tijuana. Decades of experience shows that terrorist groups will often cooperate with criminal gangs for their mutual interests and, indeed, the line between them often becomes blurred. With the cartels’ expertise in smuggling, an alliance with them would be attractive to our jihadist enemies. But what would they want in return?

How about a technology transfer?

Experts: Car bomb in Juárez mimics Middle East terrorist tactics

The car bombing in Juárez on Thursday in which three people were killed signifies an escalation of brutality and sophistication in the city’s 2-year-old drug war, officials said.

Juárez officials on Friday confirmed a car bomb with C-4 plastic explosives was detonated from a remote location.

Local experts said the Juárez and Sinaloa drug cartels apparently have adopted terrorists’ tactics that use suicide bombers and car bombs to kill foes or to make a point.

“It certainly seems like they’ve taken a page out of the Middle East,” said Richard Schwein, the former FBI special agent in charge of the El Paso office.

“The cartels read the news and they hear about what is happening in the Middle East with the use of car bombs and suicide bombers. I don’t think they will ever use suicide bombers here, but car bombs are easy to make and to use.”

This is the first time a car bomb has been used in the Juárez drug war, which has claimed the lives of nearly 5,800 people since in began in 2008.

Experts agree that the use of a car bomb with a sophisticated detonation system and C-4 is a new tactic, one that requires planning and deliberation.

(via Creeping Sharia, which thinks, contra Mexican authorities, that suicide attackers were involved)

Now, I’m not saying that Hamas or Hizbullah or any other jihadist group made this device for La Linea, nor that the cartel couldn’t figure out how to do it, itself. But the learning curve would be considerably shortened by training under a Hizbullah expert, and coming in the wake of a growing jihadist presence in Mexico is suggestive, at least.

And it’s something we should be very worried about.

RELATED: Mexico’s Zetas threaten to blow up a US dam? Cross-border collateral damage?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)