Iran ignores U.S. pleas not to make nuclear fuel, the United States lacks
support from China in the U.N. Security Council to punish Iran, a State
Department official said Thursday. China, which has a veto on the Security
Council, has growing economic ties with Iran.
U.S. doesn't have needed support in U.N. to punish Iran, official
and remember this from CNN in 2000 (!)
Pentagon fears Russia, China helping Iran build ballistic missile
July 19, 2000
Pentagon officials have expressed serious concern that Russia and China
are helping Iran in its development of longer-range, ballistic missiles.
Their reaction follows a successful test launch Saturday by Iran
of the Shahab-3 missile.
All this dicking around is making me nervous. There is an axiz of evil and the situation is fluid. Time is not on our side.
Jack Wheeler 's To the Point hosts guest author Ariel Cohen who writes precisely and brilliantly of where America a is and should be on the War on Muslim Terror. I am running it all, it is that important (footnotes too) and if Jack gets mad at me, I look forward to the tussle.......
NIGHTMARE: Terrorists Attacking America with Russian Nukes
By Ariel Cohen
Ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Americans have been
lucky that there have not been more atrocities on U.S. soil. However, the enemy,
while weakened, is far from destroyed. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri
continue to issue threats against America from their hideouts. Their strength
and support base, while diminished, is not eliminated.
organizations inspired by radical Islamist ideology are still at large in
Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent,
Southeast Asia, and presumably in the Americas. Some of them are willing to use
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to bring America down.
about intelligence failures before 9/11 and the Iraq war indicate that there are
numerous issues regarding U.S. strategic adversaries that the intelligence
community did not handle adequately. Under the new leadership of Directors John
Negroponte and Porter Goss, the intelligence community must address these issues
with the innovation and creativity that the issues deserve.
proceedings and intelligence debriefings have indicated that al-Qaeda and other
terrorist organizations planned their operations for up to six years before
execution. Several attacks using chemical weapons in Great Britain, France, and
Jordan were disrupted just before execution. The current hiatus in attacks
against the U.S. homeland may be caused by preparation for massive attacks,
possibly involving weapons of mass destruction.
Al-Qaeda is an organization that is religiously and
ideologically committed to the destruction of the United States and Israel, the
subjugation of the West, and the overthrow of existing Moslem and Arab regimes
throughout the Greater Middle East and beyond -- from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to
Indonesia. Its proclaimed goal is establishment of a Califate (Khilafa) -- a
militarized dictatorship based on the Shari'a (holy law) dedicated to conquest
of the non-Moslem world (Dar al-Harb, literally "Land of the Sword").
Osama bin Laden called using weapons of mass destruction against the
U.S. a "religious duty." He also declared that undermining America's economic
power is his strategic objective. Bin Laden portrays himself as a pious Moslem
who protects and defends other Moslems and wages a jihad (holy war) in their
In 2003, Sheikh Nasir bin Hamid al-Fahd, a prominent Saudi
cleric close to al-Qaeda, provided a comprehensive religious opinion (fatwa)
justifying the use of nuclear weapons against the United States, even it killed
up to 10 million Americans, under the pretext that the U.S. is to blame for the
deaths of 10 million Moslems.(2)
There should be little doubt that Al
Qaeda terrorists are:
Willing to inflict massive American casualties
Capable of doing so despite the technical difficulties of
executing such an attack;
Capable of either stealing or building a nuclear
Capable of either stealing or purchasing nuclear materials to
construct RDDs, radiation dispersion devices or “dirty bombs” powered by
The Russian Problem
As sources of
unsecured nuclear weapons and material, Russia and the other former Soviet
republics remain major proliferation concerns for a number of reasons.
First, the Soviet Union was an empire with a strong external perimeter
and weak internal safeguards. While the Soviet regime tightly controlled
everything that moved across its borders until the late 1980s, internal safety,
security measures, and bureaucratic culture were inadequate. This was
demonstrated by a series of technological catastrophes in the 1980s and 1990s,
the most famous and dangerous of which was the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear
reactor in Ukraine.
Nuclear, chemical, and biological material storage
facilities often were --and still are -- protected by nothing more than a
padlock, an impoverished conscript, or a retirement-age guard. Moreover,
corruption among general officers, mid-rank officers, and officials is still
rampant, and law enforcement is highly selective.
There is a pervasive
sense in the Russian military and security services that nobody is responsible
for anything and that justice, accountability, and responsibility are not a part
of the bureaucratic culture.
Corruption is pervasive. Russian officers
and officials have been accused of selling weapons to Chechen militants,
allowing armed Chechen to pass unmolested through road-blocs en route to
terrorist attacks, attempting to sell nuclear materials from decommissioned
submarine reactors in the Northern Fleet, selling vital components of military
systems and vehicles, and illegally selling food rations and supplies, leading
to malnutrition among the ranks.
In such an environment, the sale of
nuclear equipment and material or of even working individual weapons is
Three contributing factors may facilitate the
purchase of nuclear weapons, material, and components in Russia:
anti-Americanism, the growing Wahhabi/Salafi influence, and organized crime.
Anti-Americanism pervades the Russian elite from the top down and is
escalating in the media. Every international event, from the bombing of Serb
forces in Kosovo to NATO enlargement to granting asylum to Chechen militant
leaders in the U.S. and U.K. is interpreted as directed against Russia and aimed
at undermining its power.
Most recently, the Russian leadership and
media have characterized U.S. support of bloodless revolutions in Georgia and
Ukraine as attempts to push Russia out of its sphere of influence in the
Commonwealth of Independence States and to install pro-American regimes in these
former Soviet republics. A former senior Russian officials stated that "U.S.
behavior [vis-à-vis Russia] is not that of a friend, but of an adversary...
While we need to talk to the U.S., we need to keep in mind that it is an
This attitude is echoed in an incessant stream of media
commentary and biased reporting, which translate into the results of numerous
opinion polls in which the U.S. consistently comes out as Russia's primary
The Russian military forces' posture, new weapons system
development (including nuclear and missile modernization), military maneuvers,
and foreign alliances (especially with China and Iran) all indicate that Russia
views the United States as an unfriendly power. Such anti-Americanism may
facilitate illicit transactions involving nuclear weapons or components in which
the Russian seller or thief understands that the U.S. is the likely target.
Over 20 million Moslems – 7% of the total population – live in Russia
today. The increasing influence of Salafi/Wahhabi Islam among them may
facilitate penetration of the Russian military-industrial complex by
collaborators and sympathizers of terrorist organizations.
organizations and preachers in Russia operate with few restrictions. Leading
Russian experts on Islam have stated that Saudi Arabian funding sources expend
large amounts of hard currency in Russia to buy political influence among
politicians, journalists, and other members of the Russian elite. (4)
Finally, the influence of organized crime remains pervasive. Russian and
post-Soviet organized criminal enterprises are more sophisticated and command
more educated personnel than almost any other country’s organized crime
structures. Recently, the Prosecutor General of Russia stated that 500 large
enterprises are controlled by organized crime, including major oil and gas
supply and transportation ventures generating hundreds of millions of dollars in
In many cases, organized crime has merged with legal business
and has access to state enterprises, government officials, and a broad range of
international contacts. Russian organized crime may be the conduit through
which terrorists acquire and ship nuclear components or weapons to their final
The Challenges of Non-Proliferation
diminish proliferation threats from Russia and post-Soviet space, Presidents
George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush undertook a number of steps
to secure Soviet/Russian WMD, including the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat
Reduction Program and pursuing non-proliferation projects with the Yeltsin and
Putin governments. This cooperation seems to be working to some degree.
Nonetheless, the Russian stockpile of thousands of nuclear weapons and
hundreds of tons of weapons grade material suffers from a number of security
issues that need to be addressed, including:
The lack of reliable
accounting and electronically updated (and up-to-date) databases that cover all
weapons systems, including tactical nuclear arms, shells, and warheads;
The mystery surrounding so-called suitcase bombs;(5)
security of some nuclear weapons systems, especially tactical and
The lack of modern means of monitoring,
such as closed-circuit TV and motion sensors linked to a computerized monitoring
Poor security of highly enriched uranium and plutonium
Insufficient security of radioactive materials used for
research, medical, and industrial purposes.
In terms of probability, a
RDD attack is easier to execute than a full-scale nuclear fission explosion. As
far as construction of a nuclear device, a HEU (highly enriched uranium) bomb is
easier to manufacture than a plutonium bomb, and a crude improvised bomb is
easier to build than a military-grade weapon. Having said that, there is more
than a theoretical possibility that terrorists could buy a working Russian
warhead and deliver it to the U.S. in one of the millions of shipping containers
that enter the country without examination by U.S. Customs. Far easier would be
smuggling in Russian radioactive material for assembly and detonation of a RDD
in the United States.
What the U.S. Should Do
In order to
stem the growing nuclear threat facing the U.S., it is imperative that
Develop a comprehensive global intelligence network from
the current cooperative bilateral arrangements with European, Middle Eastern,
South Asia, and East Asian states. Such a network should mesh intelligence
gathering, counter-proliferation measures, and special operations to thwart
It would provide ample warnings to neutralize terrorist
organizations at the early planning stages of a WMD attack. U.S. intelligence
community should boost cooperation with law enforcement and foreign intelligence
communities to include joint counterterrorist operations. Such operations would
include deep, on-site, and long-term penetration of terrorist organizations and
neutralizing those involved in WMD terrorist operations through covert action.
Task the Pentagon with developing deterrence against high-value and
symbolic targets that terrorists and their sponsors value.
funding for joint non-proliferation programs, such as the Proliferation Security
Cooperate with Russia and the other former Soviet republics
by expanding the Nunn-Lugar funding while boosting the accountability and
transparency of these programs.
Design a supporting public affairs
component of the U.S. anti-terrorism policy through the State Department Public
Diplomacy structure, through the Board of International Broadcasting, and
through the non-profit sector to explain the importance of joint anti-terrorism
actions to the Russian elites, media, and general public.
political warfare component via the intelligence community to encourage moderate
Moslem clerics to issue fatwas forbidding terrorism in general and attacks using
WMD in particular. This component should be expended to include Moslem media in
major markets, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Consider a program
instituting monetary rewards for interception of proliferation operations and
nuclear terrorist activities through the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence
organizations, without creating a prize for unscrupulous foreign officials to
simulate such activities.
WMD-armed terrorist groups is possibly more challenging than any Cold War task.
During the Cold War, there were only two blocs -- NATO and the Warsaw Pact --
led by strong nation-states with strong chains of command. Now there are
multiple players, including transnational movements and other diffuse non-state
entities driven by ideology, religious interpretation, and language, which many
Americans do not comprehend.
However, the United States and its allies
have no alternative but to combat and destroy these evildoers while preventing
them from obtaining and using weapons of mass destruction.
1. Kelly Uphoff, "Osama bin Laden's Mandate for Nuclear Terror," Jewish
Institute for National Security Affairs, December 10, 2004, at
(April 13, 2005).
2. Nasir bin Hamid Al-Fahd, "A Treatise on the Legal
Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels," May 2003, at
www.carnegieendowment.org/static/npp/fatwa.pdf (April 13, 2005).
Russian official, interview with author, Moscow, March 2005.
with author, March 2005.
5. Two senior Russian officials -- the late General
Alexander Lebed, President Yeltsin's Secretary of Russia's National Security
Council, and Yeltsin's science advisor, Professor Alexei Yablokov -- said
publicly and testified that such devices were commissioned by the Soviet KGB
(Committee for State Security), but their fate is unclear due to the limited
time span of such weapons.