Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Pakistani arms dealer AQ Khan unleashed global tensions as Israel renewed threats against Iran

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Some may argue that nuclear weapons work when it comes to preventing regime change

The world is finally awakening to a possible disaster from climate change. However, we should not forget that nuclear weapons still pose the threat of a much faster and more violent end to civilization.

A memory comes with the death of Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, the Pakistani scientist who helped his country build an atomic bomb and is hailed as a national hero.

For the rest of the world, however, he was a nuclear arms dealer (“a real Bond villain” in the words of Israel). Haaretz Newspaper), whose shadowy network helped – with the complicity of the Pakistani authorities – the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.

In the 1970s, Dr. Khan in the Netherlands for a company that built uranium enrichment centrifuges, stole the designs and helped his homeland build the bomb it wanted to resist a nuclear armed India.

But dr. Khan didn’t stop there. His next step was to build a global network that sold equipment and technical assistance to what the West viewed as rogue countries.

The Iranian centrifuge program in Natanz was largely based on designs and materials from AQ Khan.

He visited more than a dozen North Korea and traded nuclear technology for expertise in missile technology.

Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya also had Dr. Khan’s aid plans for a bomb before it consented to Western demands to scrap it.

In 2004, Pakistan finally gave in to pressure and hired Dr. Khan under house arrest.

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions are also a source of constant speculation. AQ Khan, traveled there in November 1999. This trip followed claims that Saudi Arabia funded Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, possibly on the basis that Islamabad would provide nuclear weapons expertise or, in return, enhanced deterrence.

However, there is little evidence to suggest that Riyadh himself was involved with Dr. Khan’s help has come very far. Few experts believe that Saudi Arabia currently has ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons, although Saudi officials have said they may reconsider if Saudi Arabia’s Shiite archenemy Iran is atomically armed.

A reminder of the dangerous tensions created by Khan’s nuclear weapons trade came over the weekend when Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who commands nearly 100 nuclear warheads, also spoke about Iran and warned of the rapid advances in its nuclear weapons capability.

“In the past three years, the Iranians have made a giant leap in uranium enrichment. The Iranian nuclear program is the furthest advanced, ”he said.

This was followed by the foreseeable threat: “Israel’s responsibility is to ensure – in deeds, not in speech – that Iran will never have nuclear weapons.”

Bennett’s remarks could spark more international sympathy if Israel hadn’t urged the US to destroy the 2015 international agreement that successfully undermined Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The fact that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s other regional archenemy, is eager to back a revitalized nuclear deal for Iran undermines Israel’s claims that the deal did not work.

In reality, Israel is unnerved by US President Joe Biden’s interest in reviving the nuclear deal because it fears that it will allow Iran to expand its conventional military strength.

However, the nuclear threat remains and it will be very difficult to undo what Dr. Khan in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.

Can’t forget the knowledge that these evil weapons gave the world in the first place?

This is underscored by the obvious signs that North Korea has no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

The last dictator who willingly gave up his weapons of mass destruction was Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi. His country was invaded soon after; the Colonel was dragged out of the ditch and lynched, which in many minds, not least Kim Jong Un, reinforced the impression that nuclear weapons work when it comes to preventing regime change.

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