"The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races...and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel...will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition..." (Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, quoted in Review de Paris, June 1, 1928, p. 574)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What About Israel's Atomic Weapons?

Despite 400 Warheads, Nuclear Program Remains in Shadows

By Leonard Fein

Israel’s best kept secret is not of the “maybe yes, maybe no” variety. In fact it is a “yes” so definitive that it has 162 million Google entries. Honest. That’s what Google’s response is when you type in “Israel’s nuclear policy” — books, articles, essays, arguments, all blithely recognizing that Israel has nuclear arms.

Yet technically, Israel has chosen a policy of “opacity” (amimut in Hebrew), neither affirming nor denying its nuclear capability. This policy dates back to a 1969 secret agreement between Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon, according to which, in order not to disrupt the United States drive to gain nonproliferation commitments from other countries, Israel committed to remain silent about its nuclear program, to avoid tests, and not to threaten other countries with attack. And so it has been ever since, as Israel has gone on to develop an estimated 400 warheads, including surface-to-surface missiles, submarine- launched ballistic missiles and bombs — and, according to some sources, thermonuclear devices and battlefield weapons such as neutron bombs and nuclear artillery shells.

Scholars and to a lesser degree policy-makers have argued the utility of the policy, and there appears to be a growing (yet still modest) disposition to abandon or at least substantially modify it. (See especially Avner Cohen’s The Worst Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain With the Bomb, Columbia University Press, 2012.) Yet old habits die hard, and there is no question that Israel’s security establishment sees the policy of opacity as axiomatic.

Now: Imagine (or, if you insist, fantasize) that Israel offers to join the 189 countries that have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (all the nuclear powers but Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel), which means that it is fully prepared to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unrestricted access to its nuclear facility at Dimona. Bottom line: It is ready to abandon its doctrine of opacity — on one condition.

That condition: That Iran do the same.

There are, then, two and a half possibilities. The first, and least likely, is that Iran will agree. In that case, we have a win-win. There’d be an immediate end to the mystery of whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and it would, presuming Iran’s verified compliance, permit the re-entry of Iran into the international community. Israel might be somewhat embarrassed that the extent of its nuclear prowess has become public, but its embarrassment would fade as it would be praised for having significantly contributed to regional, even world, stability. Its unexpected initiative would be credited for having put to bed all talk of the need for a massive air assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

More likely, however, Iran will say “no,” or (here’s the half) will simply not respond. In that case, Israel will be seen as having acted in statesmanlike fashion while Iran’s status as an outlaw will be massively confirmed. This has the virtue, should the United States decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, of relieving Israel of immediate responsibility for the assault.

That must be counted a major achievement. Just now, Israel and most American Jewish organizations are loudly beating the drums of war. But if war — or, more precisely, a massive aerial assault — happens, forget Special Forces, Navy Seals and Top Gun. The assault will be extraordinarily complex (which is why Israel, as a number of its leading security and military officials have boldly stated, should refrain from initiating it). Success is far from guaranteed. All of us of a certain age have too often heard the golden promises of the generals only to discover that what’s been won is no more than pyrite — better known as fool’s gold.

Does this proposal in any way place Israel’s safety in jeopardy? It’s hard to argue that it does. Israel’s very substantial edge in conventional war remains entirely intact, as does its capacity, in extremis, to employ its “Samson Option.” It is, after all, not giving up the bomb; it is simply ending its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Many years ago, I participated for some months in an MIT/Harvard faculty seminar on nuclear containment. I learned that without a far more sophisticated technical background than I had, much of the conversation was beyond me. So I gave up any pretense or ambition to expertise. But I remained and remain a citizen, hence obliged to have at least a rudimentary understanding of America’s policies regarding deployment and use of nuclear weapons. In that, I have a distinct advantage over my friends in Israel, whose press cannot easily discuss these matters, whose public cannot debate them. My best guess: The proposal I have here outlined will have no echo whatever in the Israeli political establishment or in the Israeli press. If, by some fluke, it does, it will only be to dismiss it as naïve. And I am bound to confess: It may be naïve. But explaining why it is naive, and thereby delving into other options Israel has, are surely worthy goals.


US silent about Israeli nukes By Hassan Tahsin

International politics has a number of contradictions. At present, we see the United States leading the world against Iran, Iraq and North Korea because they allegedly possess weapons of mass destruction. We see the United States at the same time approving the idea of Israel building a new nuclear reactor. The new reactor will chemically process uranium and will obviously increase the size of the Israeli arsenal.

The world is in general agreement with the United States about the necessity of eliminating weapons of mass destruction. The existence of these weapons which includes nuclear warhead threatens the entire world. It is not enough to disarm the so-called “axis of evil.” All weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated, including those of the superpower permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The idea of disarming is a political and military one developed in the 20th century. Its main goal was to reduce arms, step by step, until they reached a level at which arms were eliminated. This is a good theory but it is far from practical reality. With the establishment of the United Nations after World War II, it was stipulated that the Security Council had the task of preparing plans and programs aimed at regulating armaments and their reduction in accordance with certain steps.

If we look at Israel and its weapons of mass destruction, we join many countries and governments which have wondered why Israel is always an exception to rules that are scrupulously applied to other countries. It is certain today that Israel possesses between 100 and 200 nuclear and hydrogen warheads of all sizes. This is confirmed by published American satellite pictures and scientific reports. These same reports also indicate that Israel is about to produce a neutron bomb.

Israel also has nuclear bombs which are designed for use from airplanes. They can be used in battle without fears of side effects. Israel also has spy satellites which can identify targets on the ground very easily. In cooperation with the former racist government in South Africa, Israel conducted nuclear tests in 1979 in the South Pacific. Further information about Israeli weapons is not available though it is known that some were used for the attempted assassination in Jordan of Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas member.

Closing the world’s eyes to Israel’s nuclear arsenal and weapons of mass destruction can only lead to suspicion and rejection. Since Israel was the first country in the region to possess these weapons, it should be the first to get rid of them. This is especially true in light of the fact that Arab countries have agreed to make the region empty of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones.

The United States is the present leader and it has embarked on a campaign to eliminate weapons of mass destruction around the world. If this is carried out, then the United States will have done something that will be remembered in history and which will also increase its
political importance.

In the future, the United States will need no help in collecting an international coalition because the whole world will support its aims. People around the world dream of peace and believe in it, and they believe that they can live in peace together without any war. Unfortunately, this is not consistent with the ambitions of politicians.
—Arab News

Who Is The REAL Nuclear Threat In The Middle East ?A Look At The Facts:

By Larry Everest, Countercurrents.org

Tensions, threats, and the danger of a U.S. and Israeli attack on Iran are escalating dangerously. The U.S. and Israel say Iran presents a grave danger because it is enriching uranium and—they claim—may be developing the technical capability to build nuclear weapons. “We're not going to take any options off the table,” President Obama said in an interview broadcast during the Super Bowl, “and I've been very clear that we're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon...”

Nuclear weapons in anyone's hands are dangerous. And Iran 's Islamic Republic is a repressive and reactionary theocracy driven by its own interests to increase its influence and standing (even while those aspirations are well within the operation of the current oppressive world order). But since the U.S. and Israel have raised the issue of nuclear weapons, it's only
fair to look at what the facts actually show about just who is the biggest
nuclear threat to the planet by far .

How much does Iran spend on its military?


How much does the U.S. spend on its military?

$687,105,000,000 (not counting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ). This is nearly 100 times what Iran spends.

How many military bases does Iran have outside its borders?


How many bases does the U.S. have overseas?

Officially there are 737 U.S. military bases in 132 of the 190 member states of the United Nations. The actual number may be more than 1,000.

How many nuclear weapons does Iran have?


How many nuclear weapons does Israel have?

Between 75 and 200 nuclear warheads.

How many nuclear weapons does the U.S. have?

Approximately 5,113 active and inactive nuclear warheads and approximately 3,500 warheads retired and awaiting dismantlement. The 5,113 active and inactive nuclear warhead stockpile includes 1,790 deployed strategic warheads, approximately 500 operational tactical weapons, and approximately 2,645 inactive warheads.

Hasn't Iran “violated its non-proliferation (NPT) obligations”?

Iran and others dispute that claim, but what about Israel ? Israel refuses to
sign the NPT or allow any of its nuclear facilities to be inspected. On
September 18, 2009 , the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Israel to join the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to inspection. Israel
—backed by the U.S. —refused.

Which is the only country to have ever dropped a nuclear bomb?

The United States . In August 1945, it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan , killing 150,000-240,000 people (with many more dying of the effects of radiation for years after).

Isn't it true that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki , the U.S. has never
used nuclear weapons?

Not really. Former Pentagon analyst (turned anti-war activist) Daniel Ellsberg
wrote that since then, “Again and again, generally in secret from the American public, U.S. nuclear weapons have been used, for quite different purposes: in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone's head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled.... [I]n 1981 I summed up a listing of eleven instances for which there was authoritative evidence in which the American nuclear gun had been pointed,” when a U.S. president “felt compelled to consider or direct serious preparations for possible imminent U.S. initiation of tactical or strategic nuclear warfare, in the midst of an ongoing, intense, non-nuclear conflict or crisis.”

Even if the U.S. has many nuclear weapons, aren't “our” leaders rational
people who seek to avoid conflict, while Iran 's leaders are unstable lunatics who can't be trusted to possess nuclear weapons? (Or as Obama said in 2009 at Oslo , “modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale.”)

Let's look at a few of those men threatening the world with nuclear destruction:
Daniel Ellsberg exposed that during the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. drew up plans to wage a nuclear war that would have obliterated “most cities and people in the Northern Hemisphere.” Ellsberg wrote, “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed primarily at the Soviet Union and China , would be roughly 600 million dead. A hundred Holocausts.”

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon nearly started a nuclear war in 1969 by
carrying out his “madman” theory of brinksmanship—whereby he made a conscious decision that it would be good if the U.S. 's opponents perceived he was crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons as part of playing nuclear “chicken” with them.

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan (promoted as an American icon by the
leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties) “joked”—“My fellow
Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will
outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” He also talked of
welcoming Armageddon—the end of the world. Amitabh Pal wrote, “In 1971, he proclaimed to a dinner companion, ‘For the first time ever, everything is in
place for the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ.' In 1980, he told evangelist Jim Bakker on his television program, ‘We may be the generation that sees Armageddon.'”

What about today under Obama? Aren't nuclear weapons being phased out of the U.S. arsenal and U.S. military planning?

No. The U.S. has reduced the size of its nuclear arsenal, but it's still
enormously destructive and still central to U.S. military strategy. The 2012
Defense Strategic Guidance plan prepared by the Obama administration states: “We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage.” Obama's defense strategy, called “Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” keeps all three legs of the U.S. nuclear weapons “triad,” enabling nuclear weapons to be launched “from ballistic missile submarines, from underground silos housing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and from B-52 and B-2 bombers.” Obama's proposed 2013 budget calls for the highest level of spending on nuclear weapons in U.S. history.

Reactionary Islamic fundamentalists are irrational and callous toward human
life. But so are those who rule the U.S. —with one major difference being that the rulers of the U.S. have exponentially more capacity to unleash nuclear horrors. Any nuclear attack would be irrational (and immoral) from the standpoint of humanity. But the rulers of the U.S. are driven by the logic and dynamics of their system of global exploitation and oppression. That
capitalist-imperialist system is enforced with violence and the threat of
violence. And that is why the rulers of the U.S. demand a monopoly on the
ability to unleash nuclear devastation.


Sources for this article:

SIPRI Military Expenditure Database , Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute

Bush's Amazing Achievement
, Jonathan Freedland, New York
Review of Books, June 14, 2007

Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance, Arms Control

Q&A: Iran nuclear issue, BBC News Middle East, January 12,

A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider's Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy,
Daniel Ellsberg, Truthdig.org, September 10, 2009

Nixon's Madman Strategy, James Carroll, Boston Globe, June
14, 2005

More Troops in Afghanistan and Preserving U.S. Nuclear Dominance... Is
This the Path to Ending the Horrors of War?
, Larry Everest,
Revolution #187, December 27, 2009

Bombing Iran Is not the Answer, Amitabh Pal, The
Progressive, February 3, 2012

Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense ,
U.S. Department of Defense, January 2012

“ U.S. to fight modern wars with Cold War machines, Pentagon says, ,
Robert Burns, Associated Press, February 1, 2012

Questioning Obama's nuclear agenda, Marylia Kelley, San
Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2012

Larry Everest is a correspondent for Revolution newspaper (revcom.us), where this article first appeared, and author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage, 2004)

Israel's Secret Weapons of Mass Destruction
Israel's nuclear, biological and chemical capabilities have remained un-inspected.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


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