Getting to Zero Update

In this issue:

 

Commitments to disarmament and arms control

Italian Group of Five

Invoking the spirit of the January 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled 'A world free of nuclear weapons,' by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn, five prominent Italians wrote an op-ed in the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. The piece details their support for the vision of a nuclear weapon-free world. The op-ed was signed by:

  • Massimo D'Alema, former Prime Minister (1998-2000) and Foreign Minister (2006-2008)
  • Gianfranco Fini, former Foreign Minister (2004-2006) and current President of the Italian Parliament's Chamber of Deputies
  • Giorgio La Malfa, former Minister for European Affairs (2005-2006)
  • Arturo Parisi, former Defense Minister (2006-2008)
  • Francesco Calogero, Department of Physics, University of Rome, former Secretary General of Pugwash from 1989 to 1997 (Pugwash: Nobel Peace Prize, 1995)

Specifically, the group of five stated that Italy and the rest of Europe should join the United States in the project to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The leaders noted their support for the two US Presidential candidates' statements advocating nuclear weapons reductions, as well as positions taken by disarmament movements in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. They also called for more cooperation between the United States and Russia to reduce their arsenals remaining from the Cold War, and to work toward the resolution of regional issues that may help bring Israel, India, Iran, and Pakistan into the global nonproliferation regime.

 

Rt Hon William Hague MP on "Preventing a new age of nuclear insecurity"

On July 23, William Hague MP and UK Shadow Foreign Secretary, spoke at the International Institute for Strategic Studies about "Preventing a New Age of Nuclear Insecurity." The speech focused on the numerous challenges that face the nonproliferation regime, including Iran, North Korea, securing loose nuclear material, the nuclear fuel cycle, and the weaknesses of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). He outlined eight proposals for the British Government to pursue in trying to prevent nuclear insecurity in the near future, namely:

1. Strategic dialogue between the permanent five prior to the NPT Review Conference in 2010;

2. Address the decline of the NPT by listening to those countries who have the capabilities, but not the desire to have a nuclear weapons program, and bring on board the non-signees;

3. Close the loopholes in the NPT and formulate an official response if any signee violates the NPT or withdraws from the treaty;

4. Bring the nuclear fuel cycle under international control ;

5. Strengthen the IAEA, make the Additional Protocols mandatory, and increase funding for the Agency;

6. Improve the international community's ability to disrupt and prevent black market transactions involving nuclear weapons and nuclear technology;

7. Disrupt the financial networks that support nuclear proliferation;

8. Deal more resolutely with existing cases of nuclear proliferation.

 

63rd anniversary of Hiroshima and calls for Getting to Zero

On August 6, Japan remembered the 63rd anniversary of the use of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima with the tolling of a bell at 8:15 am. Hiroshima's mayor made a statement urging the next US President to support a ban on all nuclear weapons. In separate articles, Professor Lawrence Wittner and journalist John Pilger also used the occasion to call for the United States and the world to abandon nuclear weapons. Numerous other organizations and writers expressed their concerns with the current status of the NPT and the state of nonproliferation in general. The Japanese Times also looked at current nuclear proliferation problems, specifically North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and India. The editorial piece mentioned that Japan should play a more prominent role in international nonproliferation efforts.

 

Country reports

United States

Observers see no strategic need for US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe

Several arms control experts and European speakers-meeting at late July's Euroscience Open Forum 2008 in Barcelona-questioned the need for tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. In analyzing the current European security situation, they could not see a use or purpose in maintaining the weapons there. Steve Fetter, dean of the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy stated:

"When we asked whether this might not be wise, others argued that our European allies were against it and that it would undermine NATO and weaken our security relationships. No plausible scenario was offered in which US nuclear weapons in Europe might be useful for the defense of Europe, much less necessary for the defense of Europe. The only [argument] offered was the vague need to guard against an uncertain future. And, of course, there was also the symbolism attached to these nuclear weapons."

According to Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, the United States still possesses between 150-240 nuclear weapons throughout Europe. The group at the forum also questioned the future need for nuclear weapons in general, noting that both US Presidential candidates offered platforms that advocated American nuclear reductions. Furthermore, they were optimistic on the chances of Europe persuading the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

 

US general wants to keep test option open

US Gen. Kevin Chilton, the STRATCOM commander, said that to ensure the reliability of its nuclear forces, the US must keep the option of nuclear testing open. He stated that "I support not wanting to test. I also support the right of the United States to change their mind on this issue, should it become decided that [it] is absolutely essential to secure our safety and security. And the protocol of the convention allows that."

Chilton pointed out that all of the nation's nuclear weapons are past their 15 year design lives and are decaying, which can negatively impact the non-nuclear components of the weapon. Critics claim that there is no evidence of degradation and that further tests could be devastating to international efforts to combat nuclear weapons proliferation.

 

US shrinking nuclear weapons complex and hitting benchmarks on reductions

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has plans to save on its operating costs by closing 600 old and unneeded weapons complex buildings located throughout the United States. The NNSA will begin to invest in new, modern facilities. Critics say the plan is too costly, arguing that new facilities are unnecessary, given the number of nuclear weapons in the US arsenal today. Even after these closures, the NNSA will control over 35 million square feet of facility space.

The NNSA also announced that they are ahead of schedule in their task of relocating nuclear weapons material from decommissioned warheads. The Agency reported that as of the end of July, they had removed 12 tons of weapons-grade plutonium from nuclear weapons facilities. The agency intends to use most of the converted material for its Reliable Fuel Supply Initiative, which would provide mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel to nations believed not to pose proliferation threats. The NNSA is hoping to limit its weapons-grade material to five sites by 2012, a decrease from the current total of seven. The NNSA's efforts are part of the larger goal of reducing the US nuclear stockpile by an additional 15% by 2012, a further reduction from the intended 50% cut announced last year by the Bush administration.

The last of the 50 Minutemen-II missiles were removed from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Air Force officials looked on, as the last missiles were carried away to be decommissioned. The United States still possesses 450 Minutemen-III silo-based ICBMs in North Dakota and Wyoming.

 

Obama speech in Berlin and the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons

In a highly publicized speech on July 24 in Berlin, Democratic Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama called on the world to unite and move to achieve the goal of getting to zero nuclear weapons. In his speech to over 200,000 people, he stated:

"This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons."

It was the first time either candidate supported the vision of eliminating nuclear weapons. John McCain pledged to drastically reduce the US arsenal, but stopped short of calling for a world without nuclear weapons.

 

United Kingdom

Reports say British plan on spending �n on new nuclear warheads

According to speaker notes obtained by The Guardian from an official's meeting with defense industry representatives, British officials plan to spend �n replacing outdated UK nuclear warheads. The government's official position is that the decision to do so will ultimately be made in the next session of Parliament (likely after 2010). Liberal Democrat defense spokesman Nick Harvey criticized the plan:

"Moving forward on a replacement warhead just two years before key talks on nuclear non-proliferation would be a decision with huge consequences and it demands open debate. The thought that it may have been taken already behind closed doors is deeply concerning."

It remains unclear whether any such decision has been taken, or whether there are misinterpretations of the notes. Given last year's government decision, supported by Parliament, to go ahead with a replacement for the Trident submarines, it seems likely that officials are expecting a positive decision on replacing the warheads as well, and are planning for such, in advance of any formal decision-making.

 

India

Agreement (and government) survives no confidence vote

The US -India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement passed several significant hurdles over the past month. The agreement would allow the United States to trade nuclear information, technology, and fuel to India, a nuclear state outside the nonproliferation regime. The deal, previously assumed to be dead, passed the Indian Parliament in July, and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh survived a vote of no confidence in the government, which could have spelled the end for the agreement.

 

IAEA safeguards agreement

On August 1, the agreement jumped another hurdle, as the IAEA Board of Governors approved India-specific safeguards covering 14 of the country's 22 nuclear facilities. The safeguards open up all 14 of India's civilian nuclear sites to inspection for the first time. However, military nuclear sites remain outside the scope of safeguards. In addition, some questions remain to be answered, including: Can India end the safeguards programs if its nuclear fuel supply is interrupted, even if it has conducted a nuclear test? Or, does the agreement require permanent, unconditional safeguards?

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised the safeguards agreement, saying, "I think we can make a very good case that this is not just a landmark deal but a positive landmark deal." She also drew attention to India's need for alternative sources of energy, "India is a country that has a tremendously growing demand for energy. It is a country that, if it tries to meet that demand through carbon-based sources for energy, is going to contribute dramatically to the continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions."

 

Nuclear Suppliers Group and resistance

The agreement now heads to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a cartel of 45 countries that regulates the international transactions involving nuclear information and technology. The NSG plans to meet from August 21-22 and again in early September. Any agreement allowing nuclear trade with India-a non-signee of the NPT-must be made by consensus.

India apparently rejected the first draft offered by the NSG, as the document put conditions on trade. The most recent draft put forward by the United States may not have enough support within the NSG to pass. Japan has expressed reservations about exemption from restrictions for India, citing possible damage to the nonproliferation regime. Other NSG states also seem hesitant to give an unconditional exemption to India for similar reasons. The Arms Control Association obtained a draft of the exemption, which they criticize as being too vague for India to qualify for an exemption. In addition, US lawmakers expressed concern that the Bush administration will not place conditions in the NSG exemption mandating that if India tests a device, its nuclear fuel supply will be cut off. If NSG does not clear the Agreement, it could effectively destroy any chance of opening up India for nuclear trade while it remains a non-signee of the NPT.

 

Further reading

Questions Linger about India's Safeguards
Dean Rust, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Augsut 14, 2008.

NSG draft waiver for India covers all nuclear, 'dual use' items
Siddharth Varadarajan, August 12, 2008.

Faits accompli, complicity, and nuclear proliferation, Michael Krepon, The Henry L Stimson Center, August 8, 2008.

Why India should get exceptional treatment from IAEA?
Economic Times, July 28, 2008.

A Civil Nuclear Power
MR Srinivasan, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2008.

 

Iran

Deadlock in P5+1-Iran diplomacy continues, but negotiations will proceed

Iran missed an alleged deadline of August 2 to respond to the updated incentives package presented by the P5+1 countries. Western and Israeli officials were quick to criticize the lack of response from Iran, with Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni saying that "It is clear that Iran does not pay attention to talks. And this is a clear message to the international community to continue with real and effective sanctions." Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki denied the existence of any such deadline. "The language of deadline-setting is not understandable to us. We gave them our response within a month as we said we would, now they have to reply to us," said Mottaki. The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, supported Mottaki, claiming that no deadline was agreed upon.

Tehran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy High Representative Javier Solana spoke via telephone on August 4, but no new developments arose from their conversation. The following day, Iran delivered a letter to Solana's office, prompting a meeting of the P5+1 countries on August 6 to discuss Iran's response. The letter was reported to have only been two paragraphs long, leading to its rejection by the P5+1. Western states in the group chastised the letter as "insufficient" and said that it provided no further information on the Iranian position. Chinese and Russian officials urged Iran to make its position more clear.

Following the rejection of Iran's response, the P5+1 agreed to begin discussions at the United Nations on additional sanctions against Iran. On August 8, the European Union levied new sanctions on Iran that go beyond those currently enforced by the United Nations. The sanctions target loan-seeking companies that conduct business with Iran and financial groups that work with Iranian banks. On August 13, the United States imposed further sanctions on Iran that bar US companies from making transactions with five Iranian companies suspected of involvement in Tehran's nuclear program.

It remains unclear what impact the sudden freezing of relations between Russia and United States may have on possible future action by the UN Security Council. It seems likely that Europe and the United States may seek alternative means to increase the pressure on Iran, through further tightening of bilateral sanctions.

Despite the seeming lack of progress in negotiations, Jalili and Solana committed to continue their talks over the Iranian nuclear program. Olli Heinonen, deputy director general of the IAEA, held technical nuclear talks with Iranian officials in Tehran on August 18. The visit was Heinonen's second visit during August to speak with Iranian officials regarding IAEA concerns that Iran might be withholding information about the objectives of the country's nuclear program.

 

Israeli ministers visit Washington, urge harsh stance on Iranian nuclear program

From late July to early August, senior Israeli officials visited Washington to discuss foreign policy issues, including the Iranian nuclear program. Their trip follows visits by IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi to the United States and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Israel. The visiting Israeli officials were Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz.

In meetings with American officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Israeli ministers urged Washington to "keep all options on the table" with Iran and pushed for stronger sanctions. Since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced his intention to resign, Barak, Mofaz, and Livni are all expected to be candidates for his position. Another possible candidate is hardliner Binyamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition in the Knesset (Israel's parliament).

 

Iran claims new military modernizations will repulse foreign attacks

Iranian officials have announced two new military developments during the month of August: an anti-ship missile and improved fighter jet capabilities. On August 4, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said that Tehran had tested a new anti-ship missile with a range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Iran's coast. Jafari said that the missile was developed with homegrown technology and contended that, "Given the equipment [the Iranian] armed forces have, an indefinite blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be very easy." Iranian leaders have threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz-through which 40% of the world's oil travels-if attacked by Israel or the United States. For background information on the threats over the Strait of Hormuz and American counter-responses, please see BASIC's July 11 Iran Update.

The announcement of increased jet fighter ranges came from Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, the commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), on August 17. Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reports that Miqani stated, "We have succeeded in upgrading the capabilities of our planes and have increased the range of these planes to 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) without refueling." If true, this extended range would allow Iranian jets to execute military strikes on Israel. Miqani went on to say that, "We do not wish to attack another country... but we will defend ourselves should we be attacked." Though Fars speculated that the increased range might come from external fuel tanks attached to the fighters, Israeli military expert Yiftah Shapir dismissed Miqani's claim, noting that the Iranians lack the technology and logistical planning capabilities to carry out such strikes. Iran has warned that it will retaliate against Israel and 32 US military bases if the country is attacked.

 

NAM supports Iran's right to peacefully enrich uranium, but not an end to sanctions

On July 30th, the 115 states of the 118 member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that attended a Ministerial Conference in Tehran endorsed Iran's right to a peaceful atomic energy program. Iranian officials said that the declaration by the NAM showed that, despite claims from Western countries, the international community is not united in opposition to Tehran's nuclear program. At the conference's beginning, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the attending delegates that "[t]he major powers are on a descending course. The extent of their influence drops day by day. They are approaching the end of their era."

However, Iran did not obtain the support it sought at the conference, as the delegates did not demand an end to UN sanctions against Iran, and did not support an unconditional right to a full domestic nuclear fuel cycle. Only Venezuela, Belarus, and Cuba backed the proposal to end all sanctions levied upon Iran.

 

Ahmadinejad says that Iran now possesses 6,000 centrifuges

On July 26, Ahmadinejad announced that "Islamic Iran today possesses 6,000 centrifuges." In 2007, Iran claimed that it had a total of 3,000 centrifuges. The Iranian president also said that the P5+1 countries were now telling Iran not to add centrifuges beyond the 6,000 in their freeze-for-freeze offer, rather than to suspend uranium enrichment altogether. In April, Tehran is reported to have begun the development of the IR-3, a more advanced subcritical centrifuge designed to increase the efficiency of the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment program. In the past, Iranian officials have stated that Iran seeks a peaceful uranium enrichment program, powered by over 50,000 operational centrifuges.

 

Iranian satellite launch may have failed

Iran said that on August 17 it carried out a successful test of a Saffir rocket-a modified Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)-designed to launch the country's first domestically produced satellite into outer space. Though the initial reports from Iranian media claimed that the country had successfully launched its first dummy satellite, Omid, later reports said that the launch was merely a test of the satellite's rocket carrier. Tehran has an active space program and already has a satellite in space, built and launched by Russia. At the rocket's launch, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mustapha Mohammad-Najjar asserted that, "The successful launch of Saffir shows that Iran has access to the ultra-modern technology required to manufacture, launch and track satellites."

American officials initially expressed concerns, but later a US official confidentally told Reuters that "the vehicle failed shortly after liftoff and in no way reached its intended position; it could be characterized as a dramatic failure." Aviation Week reports that US navy satellite and radar data validate the claim that Iran unsuccessfully attempted to launch a satellite, raising doubts about the status of the Iranian space and missile program.

 

Further reading

Iran picks firms to hunt for new nuclear plant sites
AFP, August 19, 2008.

Germany's special relationship - with Iran
Jonathan Weckerle, Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2008.

Top Iran cleric chides Ahmadinejad aide over Israeli remarks
AFP, August 19, 2008.

Iran Courts German Firms, Offers 'Guarantees'
Deutsche Welle, August 18, 2008.

Iran's president says West backing down over nuclear program, RIA Novosti, August 13, 2008.

Study Cautions Against Strike on Iran's Nuclear Facilities
Joby Warrick, Washington Post, August 8, 2008.

Mofaz: Iran is the root of all evil, threat to world peace
Mazal Mualem, Haaretz, August 6, 2008.

Iran heartened by India's nuclear vote
Kaveh Afrasiabi, Asia Times, August 5, 2008.

While Diplomats Dither, Iran Builds Nukes
John Bolton, Wall Street Journal via AEI, August 5, 2008.

How to deal with Iran's nuclear programme
Andrew Grotto, Guardian, August 4, 2008.

Iran says nonproliferation system unfairly favors nuclear powers
RIA Novosti, July 29, 2008.

Iran's S-300 Delivery Debated as Israel Delays Pre-emptive Strike Allowing Diplomatic Progress a Chance
Edwin Black, The Cutting Edge, July 28, 2008.

Iran denies Azerbaijan seized cargo for Bushehr reactor
RIA Novosti, July 24, 2008.

 

North Korea

"Trust but verify"

After North Korea released over 18,000 pages on its nuclear program on June 26, the next step has been to try and come to an agreement on a verification regime. US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been in talks with the lead negotiators from the other Six Parties-China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. Both officials support the involvement of the IAEA in the verification regime, along with inspectors from the six countries involved in the talks. North Korea has been resistant to the implementation of a verification regime, causing the US and South Korea to call for further isolation of Pyongyang. President Bush has kept up the pressure, stating that North Korea is still a member of the "Axis of Evil" and must improve its human rights record before full diplomatic relations can be established.

Christopher Hill also testified in front of the Senate Committee on Armed Services on July 31, updating Congress on the progress of the Six Party Talks. He stated:

Even as we have seen progress on these fronts, the United States remains concerned about outstanding questions relating to North Korea's uranium enrichment efforts and proliferation�The Six Parties have agreed to establish a monitoring mechanism to track all Parties obligations - including nonproliferation and provision of energy assistance. We will use this mechanism to hold the DPRK to its commitment "not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how."

State Department refuses to remove North Korea from terror list for the moment

The State Department continues to list North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented that North Korea has taken too long to fully disclose their weapons program and accept a full verification regime. Japan had lobbied heavily for this result, as the North has failed to return abducted Japanese citizens or to disclose information regarding their fate. As a result, North Korea is now arguing that the United States is not honoring the Six Party agreement, causing the disarmament process to hang in limbo.

 

Further reading

Verification vexations
Mitchell B Reiss, The Washington Times, July 31, 2008.

The Reality of Delisting North Korea
Hisahiko Okazaki, The Japan Times, July 29, 2008.

 

Syria

Syria is barring IAEA inspectors from returning to the site of the suspected nuclear plant at Al-Kibar for further investigation. The site, bombed by Israeli planes in September 2007, housed an alleged near-completed nuclear plant that could have been used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The Syrian foreign minister pointed out that Syria agreed only to a single visit by the IAEA, and denied that the facility had been an illegal nuclear reactor, built with assistance from North Korea.

 

Missile defense

Ground-based Midcourse Defense agreement moves forward: United States reaches deal with Poland

As of the last GTZ Update, the US proposal to place ten missile defense interceptors in Poland, as part of a US Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, was at a standstill. Within the span of about a week in early August, however, Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, appointed Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to negotiate the deal, and then Russia invaded Georgia. An agreement was quickly reached on August 14, six days after the Russian invasion, and after over a year of rocky negotiations between US and Polish officials. (The details of the agreement are available here.) Poland's President and parliament will need to approve of the deal. Likewise, the agreement between Prague and Washington to base an X-band radar in the Czech Republic as part of the GMD system still awaits the passage of the Czech parliament. The agreements will also need to pass the US Congress.

Polish domestic opposition to the deal withered in the face of the perceived Russian threat. The Polish newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, released results from a poll taken two days after the deal's conclusion showing that 58 percent of Poles supported plans for US missile defense interceptors in their country, compared to 30 percent back in March 2007.

  • In reaction to the conclusion of the Polish-US agreement, Russian Colonel General Anatoli Nogovitsyn said that the interceptors in Poland could become a target and that Russia would reprimand Poland for the agreement.
  • Later, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer remarked that such verbal threats were, "pathetic rhetoric."
  • In an interview with the Polish newspaper Dziennik, Foreign Minister Sikorski said that, "We Poles have the right to feel threatened," in reference to Russia.
  • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asserted that the deal, "absolutely, clearly demonstrates what we had said earlier - the deployment has the Russian Federation as its target."

US officials have been saying that the GMD system in the Czech Republic and Poland will not target Russian missiles and is intended to protect against a possible threat from Iran. Before the deal had been settled, some analysts had pointed out that if the system were to work, then it could be capable of intercepting a missile launched from Russia, a claim which the US Missile Defense Agency has disputed (warning: link opens to a 6 MB document).

Opinion is deeply split between those that claim the system is even more necessary to protect Eastern Europe and tighten its relations with the US against a resurgent Russia, and those that point to the high global cost from a freeze of relations with Russia, already highly strained over NATO's backing for independence for Kosovo and the Bush Administration's lobbying for Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO. For example, negotiations over a follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in 2009, could be cast in doubt. There are already reports that the Russians are considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the Cold War, having already stated that missile interceptors based in Poland would become a target for Russian nuclear missiles.

 

X-band radar for Israel

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met in Washington on July 28, 2008 and discussed the prospect of having Israel host a US X-band radar, the same type of radar slated for the Czech Republic. The powerful X-band radar is intended to monitor possible missile launches, and could have a dual-use role as both part of a "layered" missile defense system for Israel and as a link within a global network of US GMD systems. Israeli officials have cited Iran as one of the key reasons why they are interested in the system. The two officials also discussed shorter-range missile defenses for Israel.

Further reading

The US missile defence system is the magic pudding that will never run out
George Monbiot, The Guardian, August 19, 2008.

Georgia Crisis Propels a Bad Polish Deal
Joe Cirincione, The Huffington Post, August 14, 2008.

US Navy Eyes Rising Need to Defend Czechs, Poles
Elaine Grossman, Global Security Newswire, August 1, 2008.

Benefit of Limited Missile Defense Test Questioned
Elaine Grossman, Global Security Newswire, August 8, 2008.

Forging a Sino-US "grand-bargain" in space
Theresa Hitchens and David Chen, Elsevier, August 2008.

US considers deploying missile defense radar to Israel
AFP, July 29, 2008.

Building Better Deterrence: Nuclear Danger Demands Missile Defense
Loren Thompson, Defense News, July 28, 2008.

Ballistic Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Process for Identifying and Addressing Combatant Command Priorities
Report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, US Government Accountability Office, July 2008.

 

Other publications

Experts: Musharraf resignation won't have huge impact on control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons
Matthew Pennington, AP via AM New York, August 19, 2008.

Sticks, carrots, and nukes
Patrick Clawson, The Guardian, August 14, 2008.

A unified front against nuclear weapons
Bennett Ramberg, The Guardian, July 26, 2008.

BASIC and Getting to Zero (GTZ)

GTZ Papers

India and the Nuclear Deal, Siddharth Ramana, BASIC Getting to Zero Papers, No 7, August 18, 2008.

The US-India Agreement and its Impact on the Nonproliferation Regime
Philip Maxon, BASIC Getting to Zero Papers, No 6, August 18, 2008.

Preventing a new age of nuclear insecurity? Analysis of William Hague's July Address to the IISS
Jamie Wheeler, BASIC Getting to Zero Papers, No 5, July 29, 2008.

 

GTZ blog

Bilateral nuclear disarmament strategies after the Ossetian conflict
Paul Ingram, August 14, 2008.

Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb and Getting to Zero
Phil Maxon, August 6, 2008.

Italian Op-ed for nuclear disarmament
Laura Spagnuolo, August 1, 2008.

William Hague on non-proliferation and disarmament- latest
Jamie Wheeler, July 30, 2008.

Obama Pledges to Work Toward a Nuclear-Free World
Phil Maxon, July 28, 2008.

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