Nightmare scenario: A-bombs for al-Qaeda from North Korea


Nightmare scenario: A-bombs for al-Qaeda

DOUG SAUNDERS From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail

LONDON — The most alarming thing about Kim Jong-il’s new weapons, to many knowledgeable observers, is not the nuclear threat itself. It is the way the world’s major powers might respond to them. The worst-case scenario goes something like this: Terrified by the nuclear threat next door, the Japanese decide to build their own nuclear arsenal, to the deep alarm of China. The United States beefs up its Pacific bases and begins threatening attacks on North Korean missile sites. In response to this new U.S. presence near its shores, China drastically increases its military strength and begins making overt threats, setting off a chain of military escalation. And North Korea, isolated and desperate after losing its last sources of economic support, sells its nuclear devices to al-Qaeda.“It’s more realistic today than it was yesterday,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, who was the U.S. State Department’s chief official on nuclear proliferation issues until last year.In his opinion, which is shared by many other Western officials, the greatest threat is that an isolated North Korea, desperate for food and fuel after it has been isolated by its former supporters, will sell its weapons to terrorist groups or rogue states.

 After all, Pyongyang has shown no qualms about making such sales: International observers such as the International Atomic Energy Agency believe North Korea sold 1.7 tonnes of uranium hexafluoride to Libya in 2000. And it does not lack desperation: China, the main source of food and fuel for the impoverished nation, expressed outright fury Monday at its neighbour’s desperate act. If it cuts off aid, North Korea could become an even more dangerous state.“I have felt for a long time that this is the process where North Korea is trying to get recognition for itself even at the expense of aggravating its main supporters,” said James Grayson, president of the British Association for Korean Studies. “My worry is that they would be pushed even further into the corner and become more dangerous.”Chinese leaders Monday suggested that they might punish North Korea in such a fashion. Their wrath at their communist neighbours’ defiant act was reflected in the unusually hostile diplomatic language used in their condemnations.“I think China is very furious with North Korea right now,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said Monday. “So I think that China is inclined to show its displeasure by maybe slowing down the oil flow, slowing down investment trade assistance. . . . China is perhaps more relevant to causing or preventing the worst-case scenario.”But some say Chinese leaders are likely to respond more aggressively to an increased Japanese and U.S. military presence, triggered by the nuclear threat, than they are to North Korea itself.Japan’s ruling politicians, leading a population opposed to most forms of war, are still very much against increasing the country’s military role in the region. But there is a Japanese minority that believes the country should have a nuclear arsenal, and that faction could become much larger and more influential as a result of the North Korean weapon.One potential benefit is that the very real possibility of North Korea selling its nuclear knowledge to terrorists could lead to an agreement among China, Japan and the United States to search all North Korean container ships for radioactive material.Indeed, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, suggested Monday that the neighbouring powers and the United States might have reached a previously elusive agreement to punish North Korea.“I would say that there was a consensus in that meeting for a strong and swift response,” he said Monday of the UN Security Council emergency meeting.While this could bring a new strategic unity to these usually fractious partners, many observers say it is highly unlikely to take place, precisely because it would seem like such an overtly military act. And the inspection of ships, which would require an effective naval blockade of North Korea, would look like a military act.“My guess is that they’re likely to be hesitant about taking steps that could lead to a further escalation,” Gary Samore, another former U.S. State Department non-proliferation official, said Monday. “They want to put pressure on North Korea, but steps that could seen as an act of war, [such] as a naval blockade, those are things that they are going to be very wary to support. If you’re going to have some kind of an enforceable ban on military trade, you’re going to have some kind of a military regime. . . . The Chinese and Russians are afraid to use something that could cause an escalating conflict.”And that is what could keep this development from producing any visible response. The fear of a fast-escalating conflict or regional calamity outweighs any larger concern about North Korean weapons.




TEHRAN 14 Dec. (IPS) One of Iran’s most influential ruling cleric called Friday on the Muslim states to use nuclear weapon against Israel, assuring them that while such an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them “damages only”.

“If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world”, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told the crowd at the traditional Friday prayers in Tehran.

Analysts said not only Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s speech was the strongest against Israel, but also this is the first time that a prominent leader of the Islamic Republic openly suggests the use of nuclear weapon against the Jewish State.

“It seems that Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani is forgetting that due to the present intertwinement of Israel and Palestine, the destruction of the Jewish State would also means the mass killing of Palestinian population as well”, observed one Iranian commentator.

While Israel is believed to possess between 100 to 200 nuclear war heads, the Islamic Republic and Iraq are known to be working hard to produce their own atomic weapons with help from Russia and North Korea, Pakistan, also a Muslim state, has already a certain number of nuclear bomb.

In a lengthy speech to mark the so-called “International Qods (Jerusalem) Day” celebrated in Iran only, Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who, as the Chairman of the Assembly to Discern the Interests of the State, is the Islamic Republic’s number two man after Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, said since Israel was an emanation of Western colonialism therefore “in future it will be the interests of colonialism that will determine existence or non-existence of Israel”.

Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani made the unprecedented threat as, following new suicide operations inside Israel and against Israeli settlements by Palestinian extremists in PA-controlled zones, responded by Israel’s heaviest bombarding of Palestinian cities, police, communication and radio-television installations, killing and wounding more than 200 people on both sides, resulted in the halting of all contacts between Israel and the PA of Mr. Yaser Arafat.

He said since Israel is the product of Western colonialism, “the continued existence of Israel depends on interests of arrogance and colonialism and as long as the base is helpful for colonialism, it is going to keep it.

Hashemi-Rafsanjani advised Western states not to pin their hopes on Israel’s violence because it will be “very dangerous”.

“We are not willing to see security in the world is harmed”, he said, warning against the “eruption of the Third World War.

“War of the pious and martyrdom seeking forces against peaks of colonialism will be highly dangerous and might fan flames of the World War III”, the former Iranian president said, backing firmly suicide operations against Israel.

Quoted by the official news agency IRNA, Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani said weakening of Palestinian Jihad is “unlikely”, as the Palestinians have come to the conclusion that talks would be effective only “in light of struggle and self-sacrifice- the two key elements that gave way to beginning of the second Intifada”.
Iranian analysts and commentators outside Iran immediately reacted to Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s statement, expressing fear that it might trigger an international backlash against Iran itself, giving Israel, the United States and other Western and even Arab nations to further isolate Iran as a source of threat to regional security.
“Jews shall expect to be once again scattered and wandering around the globe the day when this appendix is extracted from the region and the Muslim world”, Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani warned, blaming on the United States and Britain the “creation of the fabricated entity” in the heart of Arab and Muslim world.

“The man who considers himself as the most able politician in the Islamic Republic utters such nonsense and empty threats at a very time that the hard line and extremist government of Israel under Mr. Ariel Sharon is looking for justification of its repressive policy against Palestinians”, said Mr. Ahmad Salamatian, a veteran political analyst based in Paris.

“At a time that the right wing Israeli government is claiming that the very existence of Israel and the Jews are threatened and uses this pretext as an instrument to advance its policy of repression in Palestine, such statements and ushering such dangerous menaces by one of Iran’s top officials is nothing but bringing water to Israel’s propaganda mill, providing it with more justifications explaining its present maximalist policy”, he told the Persian service of Radio France Internationale.

Though Mr. Salamatian is of the opinion that Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s words are part of both his own show and the ongoing internal tensions between conservatives and reformers, however, he also agrees with other Iranian analysts that his “untimely” menace could backfire, becoming a justification for threats against Iran, at a time that the United States and its allies are determined to continue the fight against international terrorism.

“One of Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s main characteristics in Iranian politics during the past twenty years is that in order to preserve his own position, he is ready to set fire to all the Caesareas for one handkerchief, including, in the present case, providing Israel with enough pretext to attack Iran”, he noted, adding: “for the time being and what is important for Mr. Sharon is that this kind of statements are open invitation for more violence, an encouragement to extremists on either side of the Israel-Palestine conflict”.

Observing that despite the fact that Israel is believed to have more than one hundred atomic warheads and the necessary technology to transport them to the very heart of Iran and elsewhere, but no Israeli official nor any newspaper have ever raised the slightest possibility of an atomic threat, “even in defence of their very existence”, Mr. Salamatian wondered the reasons behind Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s declaration, which he said should be taken seriously “considering the rank of the man who pronounced it”. ENDS RAFSANJANI NUKE THREATS 141201

Militants kill two children of a missionary couple in Pakistan

Militants kill two children of a missionary couple in Pakistan

10 Oct 2006 – Source: Sheraz Khurram Khan – ASSIST News Service
In an horrific incident of Christian persecution on September 1, some unidentified militants slew two children of a missionary couple who is working with At Any Cost Jesus Mission, a underground ministry evangelizing to the Muslim nations.
MUZAFFARABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) – A press release sent via e-mail to ANS by Any Cost Jesus Mission said that the assailants torched the dead bodies of teenaged children Shalom, 15 and Sharon 14 after murdering them brutally in the northern district of Pakistan.
The teenaged victims according to the press release were secondary school students.
“Shalom and Sharon were kidnapped along with their missionary parents and two other younger sisters 10 days before the murder. The militants asked them to convert to Islam but they refused,” said the press release.
“So the militants killed Shalom first. Then they raped the girl and cut one of her breasts in front of her parents. She too died”, the press release quoted another underground missionary, Habel who it said broke the news to Any Cost Jesus Mission from a hidden place.
“Police and the military forces are backing the militants. Habel and his family was also attacked and their house was burnt but the Lord enabled them to escape to a hidden place. They (militants) also demolished a church and some houses were set on fire too”, the evangelization ministry claimed in the press release.
According to the press release the militants set the motorbike on fire by spraying petrol on it and left the dead bodies in a ditch along with a motorbike.
“The police declared a false statement that it was an accident and the petrol tank of the bike was open when they fell into the ditch and burnt by a spark”, alleged Any Cost Jesus Mission.
The press release said that the believers are living in a grip of fear and trouble following the killing of Shalom and Sharon.
The ministry further claimed in the press release that the militants are not allowing believers to pray.
“They are not even allowed to speak a single word about Christ or Christianity or Christians”, the press release quoted Habel as saying.
The tribal people and their leaders are also being murdered by the terrorists in the Neelum Valley, it said.
10 Oct 2006

Top Qaeda leader urges fighters to hit White House