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Nuclear Terrorism – and the Nostradamus predicate

President Obama carries a Hanuman idol in his pocket which he says is for luck. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook recently revealed that Apple’s Steve Jobs had advised him to visit the Hanuman Temple of Kainchi Dham in the Indian State of Uttarakhand. Looks like the West is pretty much enamored with Indian mythology and mystique, albeit with plenty contradictions. For example, ‘Om’ and ‘Mantras’ are ‘heart’ of the Yoga without which full benefit of Yoga cannot be achieved even though practiced.

However, some schools in the US have banned ‘Namaste’ (folding both hands) in yoga owing to complaints that yoga was propagating non-Christian beliefs. In terms of nuclear terrorism, western engagement has hardly gone beyond the imagination of James Bond preventing nuclear holocaust and Hollywood movies with odd city getting nuked, rise of the machines, alien attacks and bizarre stuff like rise of the dead with all its blood and gore. But had Obama and the US administration closely watched the movie Nostradamus and concentrated upon identifying the turbaned fellow with a beard firing nukes on to the US, in all probability they would have arrived at a Pakistani or Pakistani proxy pressing the button decades back, rather than now expressing fears over what may happen.

At the recent fourth Nuclear Security Summit, Obama in his concluding remarks said that leaders from across the globe had gathered at the two-day event to discuss “one of the greatest threats to global security — terrorists getting their hands on a weapon of mass destruction”. Later, at a press conference he said that preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and enriched materials and South Asia was top on this list, expressing concern over a rapid increase in tactical nuclear weapons. Although Obama did not name the countries that were doing so, the US media interpreted this statement as a reference to Pakistan, claiming that in the days leading to the summit several US officials had identified Pakistan as the country rapidly developing tactical nuclear weapons.

In a subsequent weekly address, Obama once again warned that groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS would use nuclear weapons if they ever get hold of it, adding, “We know that Al Qaeda has tried. IS has already used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. And, if they ever got hold of a nuclear weapon or nuclear material, we have no doubt they will use it.” 

What apparently has raised the US fears is the incident of two ISIS terrorists shot while trying to access Belgium’s nuclear plants. But Obama still can’t muster wits to talk directly about Pakistan for fear of upsetting his political base, in sharp contrast to Donald Trump who makes no bones about Pakistan being a terrorist state. Even erstwhile British Prime Minister Tony Blair says that that “many millions” of Muslims hold a viewpoint that is “fundamentally incompatible with the modern world.” But the fundamental question is how has Pakistan become the fountainhead of terrorism, multiplying her TNWs at furious pace while aligned with the universal policeman, the US, who at one time had threatened Pakistan to “bomb it back into stone age” if it did not join GWOT? Is it that the Obama administration is content in the belief that with its links with Pakistan right from CEATO-CENTO days, nukes passed on by Pakistan to terrorists would spare the US mainland – same way as regular terror attacks in return to US doles in terms of both financial and military hardware?

Fears have been expressed in the media, citing counter-terrorism experts, of ISIS expanding its footprint in Baluchistan, where most of Pakistan’s nuclear assets are housed. Surprisingly, this type of noise was not made when an ISIS delegation had visited Baluchistan in September 2014 to meet up with Jundallah associated with TTP – all three having underhand links with Pakistan’s ISI and Jundallah undertaking cross-border raids into Iran.

For that matter the so called ISIS in Afghanistan (Khorasan branch) which James Clapper, Director US National Intelligence refers to as “an amalgamation of primarily disaffected and rebranded former Afghan Taliban and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members” actually is an ISI engineered and ISI headed organization, consolidated in Nangarhar Province and expanding, which is designed to serve US interests even as Pakistan engages in the dangerous game of balancing between China and the US. 

But how has the situation come to this state – Obama administration even offering a “nuclear deal” to Pakistan last year to get Islamabad into the Nuclear Suppliers Group in return for Pakistan reining in its nuclear weapons. The fact is that the US deliberately looked the other way as Pakistan was nuclearised by China. In June 1997 CIA report titled ‘The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions–July-December 1996’  confirmed China “was the primary source of nuclear-related equipment and technology to Pakistani nuclear facility at Khushab that could help develop nuclear weapons.

US concerns about Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation have persisted since but most likely a conscious decision was taken by the US administration to ignore the obvious. Even when the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation scandal broke out, the US was content with the idiotic explanation by wily Musharraf that AQ Khan was doing this solely of his own accord keeping Musharraf in the dark. To top this, none from the US intelligence even questioned AQ Khan despite stated global concerns of the US about nuclear proliferation. Of course the US had no option but to ignore nuclear proliferation by China because China could not care less. 

Obama has stated “ISIS has already used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. And, if they ever got hold of a nuclear weapon or nuclear material, we have no doubt they will use it” but is ISIS the only one to have used chemical weapons? Russia’s FSB had alleged in the past that a chemical weapon was provided to Homs in Syria by Britain Defence, top British mercenary organization, on a request made by Qatar and approved by Washington, and they had telephone intercepts of top executives of Britain Defence to prove it. So, if a mercenary outfit can provide a chemical weapon, it theoretically can provide a small nuke as well. But what exactly is nuclear terrorism? Is it confined to only nukes being passed on to terrorist organizations? Would nukes being passed on to terrorist-cum-rogue states comprise a greater act of nuclear terrorism? 

In his book ‘The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation’, Thomas Reed, former US Air Force Secretary (himself having designed two nuclear devices) says that China intentionally proliferated nuclear technology to risky regimes, particularly Pakistan. in an interview to US News, Reed explained that China under Deng Xiaoping, decided to proliferate nuclear technology to communists and Muslims in the third world based on the strategy that if the West started getting nuked by Muslim terrorists or another communist country without Chinese fingerprints, it would be good for China. As for Pakistan, India was China’s enemy and Pakistan was India’s enemy. Chinese trained Pakistani scientists and gave them the design of the CHIC-4 device, which was a weapon that was easy to build a model for export.

There is evidence that AQ Khan used Chinese designs in his nuclear designs. Notes from his lectures later turned up in Libya. China dealt with Saudis, North Koreans, and the Algerians similarly. China tested Pakistan’s first bomb for her in 1990. What reinforces Chinese lies is that while China raised a host of objections to exposures in Reed’s book, all were withdrawn subsequent to discussion with Chinese scientists, as claimed by Reed. As for North Korea, not only has China actively assisted the formers nuclear program, she apparently wants North Korea to fire at least one nuclear weapon against another country (US, Japan, South Korea?) just to displace the US claim of being the sole country to have nuked another country.

While Reed alleged Chinese have in the past assisted Saudi Arabia and Algeria on the nuclear front, in addition to Pakistan and North Korea, the latest proliferation activity appears to be centred on boosting the Saudi Arabian nuclear program through Pakistan; China virtually gave the nuclear bomb to Pakistan and Pakistan is ready to do the same to Saudi Arabia. BBC disclosure of recent months reveals that Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects and she could obtain atomic bombs at will. According to a senior NATO official, intelligence reporting indicated that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

US Think Tanks have been consistent in hollering about an Indo-Pak nuclear war, which the West may prefer or even try to orchestrate for deflecting nuclear terrorism to this part of the world. So, the US can be expected to molly-coddle Pakistan; keep increasing the so called “incentives” to keep Pakistan in check but may discover in due course of time that they have been led up the gum tree – same way as the Pakistani assurances of persuading the Taliban to join the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. But the inevitable of destiny may still happen – the US may do well to work out the post strike response to nuclear terrorism should the Nostradamus prophecy of US getting nuked come true.

Source: Defence Review

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