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Thread: If Libya can do it, why not Israel?

  1. #1

    Post If Libya can do it, why not Israel?,00.html

    If Libya can do it, why not Israel?

    We can no longer turn a blind eye to the fifth largest nuclear power

    Peter Preston
    Monday December 22, 2003
    The Guardian

    There's a logic to these things. Muammar Gadafy, growing older, and his isolated Libya, growing poorer, were getting nothing worthwhile from the atomic bomb they hadn't built yet or chemicals they had scant residual use for. Logic - and common sense - meant changing tack. Good for logic. But logic doesn't stop there.
    What next? If weapons of mass destruction are a menace in unstable regions such as the Middle East, if their availability must be reduced, then logic begins to move us closer to the confrontation we never seek with the nuclear power we - let alone Messrs Bush and Blair - seldom mention: Israel.

    Nobody, including the Knesset, quite knows what happens inside the Dimona complex, but if you put together a compote of usually reliable sources (the Federation of American Scientists, Jane's Intelligence Review, the Stockholm Institute), a tolerably clear picture emerges. Ariel Sharon probably has more than 200 nuclear warheads this morning - more if the 17 years since Mordechai Vanunu's kidnapping have been devoted to building stockpiles.

    That makes Israel the world's fifth largest nuclear power, boasting more bangs from Washington's bucks than Blair's Britain. And over in the other WMD basket, nobody much dissents when a report by the office of technology assessment for the US Congress concludes that Israel has "undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities" and is "generally reported as having an undeclared offensive biological warfare programme". Bombs, missiles, delivery systems, gases, germs? Tel Aviv has the lot. We only forget to remember because it's not a suitable subject for polite diplomatic conversation.

    Logic, in the old days, didn't trouble too much about that. It saw a state of Israel surrounded by many potential foes who denied its right to exist. It saw such enemies initiate research of their own. It saw too many wars, bitterly fought. It watched the Soviet Union, with warheads to spare, cruising continually in these troubled waters. It was prepared to turn a blind eye and to button its lip.

    Come back today for a reality check, though. Saddam's Iraq is a wrecked rat trap. The weapons of mass destruction Gadafy sought are no more, no threat. Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt? Nothing to say, nothing to show. You can, if you wish, be concerned about Syria's chemical weapons facilities - and you can reasonably worry about a nuclear Iran, even though Tehran took a decisive step back towards international acceptability last week. But Moscow is out of the action, and the whole dynamic of Middle East danger has changed. Logic comes knocking at Sharon's door.

    He faces problems, of course: problems of intractable politics and Palestinian suicide bombers. But he can't nuke Gaza or gas Bethlehem. His WMD are useless in any battle for hearts and minds - as practically useless as Gadafy has just deemed them to be. So why keep Dimona and the biological research centre at Nes Ziona out of any equation? Why pretend that they don't exist?

    The formal logic of defence is threat, counter-threat. Sit in Tehran and look east - at China, India and Pakistan, with their bombs; look west, and there sits Israel. It is natural, in logic, that Iran consider its own deterrent. It will require a deal of understanding engagement - and guarantees - to close off that path. But such guarantees are possible in the age of the world's only superpower. There is every reason to talk frankly about Israel's bomb, just as the Syrians could be closely involved in dismantling chemical stockpiles if only we could find the right language to start.

    What, after all, is the current western fear? Of terrorism, rogue states, of more 9/11s. That's why Geoff Hoon's latest defence review moves out of heavy tanks and battleships. It adjusts to what it calls the new realities of flexibility and intelligence. Even Gadafy seems to have noticed. Why not mention them to Sharon?

    An Israel bristling with nuclear hardware it cannot talk about and chemical horrors it could negotiate away does not make itself, or the world, any safer. On the contrary, it makes a hypocritical farce of too much Washington bargaining, buries too many initiatives deep down Hypocrisy Gulch and gives rogue groupings in ex-rogue states every reason to carry on developing, stealing or buying the devices that keep Mr Blair awake at night.

    Does Tel Aviv see that connection? Does it want to bring a whole region in from the cold? Such things are becoming possible. But first we need the honesty to follow where logic leads; and begin to talk about them.

  2. #2

    Post Now make Israel give up weapons, say Arab nations,00.html

    December 22, 2003


    Now make Israel give up weapons, say Arab nations
    By Richard Beeston

    Middle East

    ARAB states used Libya’s voluntary disarmament of its weapons of mass destruction yesterday to demand that Israel should also be made to surrender its non-conventional weapons, including hundreds of nuclear warheads.
    As the region came to terms with the impact of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s gesture, the debate quickly moved to who should be next. In just one week, the debate on disarmament in the region has changed, after Iran also agreed to allow experts to make spot inspections of its nuclear facilities.

    “By taking this initiative, (Libya) wants all countries to follow its steps, starting with the Middle East, without any exception or double standards,” Libya said in a statement.

    Shokri Ghanem, the Foreign Minister, said: “We are turning our swords into ploughshares and this step should be appreciated and followed by all other countries.”

    Many Arab nations interpreted this message as an appeal to the West to force Israel to come clean about its weapons programmes, in particular its nuclear weapons stockpiles.

    “It’s a good step which has echoes around the world, and it must also have an echo in Israel,” President Mubarak of Egypt said yesterday. “Israel must also eliminate its weapons of mass destruction.”

    Certainly, any hope of one day ridding the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction would have to include Israel, the regional superpower. Yediot Aharonot, the bestselling Israeli newspaper, concluded yesterday that only Syria and Iran now posed a non-conventional threat to the Jewish state.

    However, Arab attempts to shift the debate ignored the political realities in the region. When President Bush said that he hoped “other leaders will find an example in Libya’s announcement”, he was almost certainly referring to Iran and North Korea, the last two members of his “axis of evil” trio, and other countries on America’s list of “rogue states”.

    The most obvious candidate is Syria, which is accused of producing chemical weapons, of conducting research into biological weapons and of having missiles able to hit targets hundreds of miles from its border.

    President Assad, the country’s young leader, has been willing to co-operate with the West in its War on Terror by sharing intelligence on al-Qaeda and handing over to Turkey people suspected of involvement in the suicide bombings on synagogues, the British Consulate and the HSBC bank building in Istanbul last month.

    Washington has made clear, however, that it wants greater concessions from Syria, which, after the fighting to depose Saddam Hussein, has thousands of American troops along its border with Iraq. On December 12 Mr Bush signed the Syria Accountability Act, which threatens sanctions against Damascus unless it meets a set of conditions, including dropping support for terrorist groups and abandoning its weapons of mass destruction programmes. “The Syrian regime does not yet understand that since the war in Iraq they are in a completely different strategic position, one that requires them to adapt,” Judith Kipper, of the Council on Foreign Relations, which is based in Washington, said. “They seem to forget the US are on their border.”

    Iran, too, will be under scrutiny over the coming months, as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency begin to examine its nuclear programme.

    If Libya’s disarmament is genuine and the Iranians are seen to co-operate fully, then it will become difficult for other states to avoid being drawn in. In addition to Israel and Syria, Egypt also has built up stocks of chemical agents, carried out research into biological weapons and has long-range missiles. Yemen, too, has missile capability.

    North Korea may be geographically and politically isolated from events in the Middle East, but it will not be unaffected by the dramatic changes that are underway. Its development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons is not a matter of speculation, nor is its advanced work on long-range missiles.

    However, most of the customers for its weapons of mass destruction equipment are in the Middle East and that key trade could start to dry up if arms control comes into force in the region.

    Progress in the Middle East would also put pressure on key Asia countries such as China, Japan and South Korea to find a solution to their own stalemate with Pyongyang.

  3. #3
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    With Libya's disarmament it sounds as though all is going according to a plan decided years back. This is taken from a thread posted here in September

    This is an excerpt on the msnbc website from a just published book written by recently retired and now US presidential candidate General Wesley Clark. Note particularly these lines in the first paragraph referencing a conversation Clark had at the Pentagon in November 2001, shortly after 911

    "This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan. So, I thought, this is what they mean when they talk about “draining the swamp.”

    Needless to say Americans have not been told of these ambitious plans in such a succinct manner; nor have the American people been told that Bush's neo-con advisers had big plans for the Mid-East well before September 11 (ie the Project For A New American Century).

    I do not tend to be one that would think elements of the US government would purposely bomb their own buildings (ie the World Trade Towers); but could a government be so diabolical as to purposely let its guard down (ie read the timeline of 911 and you will know what I mean) so as to allow a terrorist incident it knew would be likely to take place providing a needed pretext for intervention into the Mideast?

    Naaaaaah! ;-)
    Last edited by Gladstone; Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003 at 01:15 AM.
    Turman found a copy of The Graduate, and thought highly enough of the story that he made a movie he considered to be 90-percent faithful to the book.

    But Turman and director Mike Nichols made one key adaptation, changing the Braddocks from WASP-y blonde characters into a dark-haired, more ethnic-looking family.

    From NPR's Present at the Creation

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