Intelligence officers in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakstan havewarned the US that Osama bin Laden has been buying nuclear weapons fromthe Russian mafia, it was reported today.
The Russian foreign ministry has rebutted a story in the WashingtonTimes that the Russian criminal underground is supplying Bin Laden withthe means to build weapons of mass destruction.
Richard Butler, former United Nations weapons inspector, said in a TVinterview yesterday: "A nuclear terrorist threat from Bin Laden, by wayof the Russian criminal underground, is a reality." return to menu
2. Atomic Energy Minister Calls On Scientists To Develop Improved Security Devices
October 4, 2001
(for personal use only)
Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev said in an interviewpublished in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 3 October that he wants scientiststo develop improved tools for the defense against terrorism and that hewould like to see Russian and American scientists work together on suchprojects. PG return to menu
3. Nuclear Material Missing From Kazakh Cosmodrome, Kazakh Commercial TV Reports
BBC Monitoring Service
October 4, 2001
(for personal use only)
[Presenter] We have just received a report from our correspondents atBaykonur [space launching site in southern Kazakh Kyzyl-Orda Region]. Anemergency has taken place in the Russian zone of responsibility at thespace launching site. A container of the radioactive substancecaesium-137 has disappeared at the compound, which is guarded by armedforces. Our crew has returned from the scene of the incident with somedetails:
[Correspondent, over video of workers, servicemen, aircraft, nuclearcontainers, people at space launching facilities] The report that acontainer of the nuclear substance was missing at the Baykonurcosmodrome came to the police on 25 September. The Kyzyl-Orda Regionpolice department has said that the missing caesium was at a burial sitein the secret area No 94A, which is not indicated on maps.
According to unofficial reports, the missing nuclear substance hadalready been sent off to Russia the following day. The Russian specialservices say this is the first time they have heard about the missingcontainer. Only the head of Baykonur's Russian administration, GennadiyDmitriyenko, said in an interview that nuclear substances havedisappeared from the cosmodrome several times.
However, later, on the grounds that the facilities were secret,officials demanded that Kazakh Commercial TV journalists hand over theirvideo camera to the town administration for the night. The next morning,the cassette did not contain the recording of the interview with themayor.
[Yevgeniy Sergienko, Kazakh Commercial TV cameraman, interviewed] TheBaykonur town administration has plainly told us that we should not pokeour nose into this.
[Correspondent] [Passage omitted: all officials were told to give noinformation to journalists] It emerged that unprecedented securitycontrol has been introduced here only for independent journalists.Several hours later, it became known that everyone who wished could gothrough a control and checking post guarded by Russian servicemen.
[Unidentified taxi driver showed from the back] There are taxi driverswho can take you through it. You pay them, they pay the servicemen andthen you can go in and back freely. There is no difficulties there now.In general, money solves everything now.
[Correspondent] So the fact that a container of caesium has disappearedfrom the compound guarded by the Russian side is not an emergency.Dangerous radioactive substances are known to have disappeared at thecosmodrome before. However, none of these criminal incidents have beensolved.
Source: Kazakh Commercial Television, Almaty, in Russian 1300 gmt 3 Oct01 return to menu
B. Russian-American Relations
1. The Challenges of Alliance With Russia
New York Times
October 5, 2001
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON -- Throughout the 1990's, any use of force by the UnitedStates sent President Boris Yeltsin of Russia into a red-faced fury. Nomatter the target, he would fulminate about Washington's arrogance,invoke Russia's nuclear might, even warn of World War III. Mr. eltsin'soutbursts were brief but ferocious, and they reflected a widespreadconviction among Russians that deep down, America's interests weredifferent from theirs.
Now comes Vladimir Putin - by instinct and training a less likely friendof the United States than was Mr. Yeltsin - to offer support in ourstruggle against terrorism. His presence on President Bush's bandwagonis more than just a reversal of Russian policy on America's use offorce. Mr. Putin, unlike his predecessor, seems to believe that there isa domestic consensus, or that he can create one, in favor of a broadrapprochement between Russia and the West.
This offers huge potential payoffs for American policy, and both sidesshould work hard to make it a reality. Mr. Putin showed his readiness todo so this week, in a statement that seemed to relax Russia's oppositionto the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Bushadministration is reciprocating with talk of speeding up Russia'sadmission to the World Trade Organization.
Yet a long-term Russian-American realignment will require more than suchstatements and the better atmosphere they create. It will demand realismabout the risks and difficulties of cooperation on the very issue -terrorism - that seems to bring us together.
The most obvious problem is Moscow's appallingly brutal war in Chechnya.The administration has sought to narrow its differences with Russia onthis issue, commending Mr. Putin's proposal for a political dialoguewith the Chechen rebels and echoing his demand that they expel foreign"terrorists." (No one denies such fighters are there).
The desire to take the edge off Russian-American disagreements isunderstandable. We're embarked on a large struggle and need the supporteven of those we disagree with. Yet getting too close to Mr. Putin'sChechnya policy is far more dangerous than keeping our distance from it.If the United States is to win this new war, our coalition partners needto believe that the effort is not anti-Islamic, that we do not apply theterrorist label carelessly and that we will not target civiliansindiscriminately.
Mr. Putin discredits us on every point. His generals, moreover, arepushing for a new offensive that, with its inevitable atrocities, willblacken his reputation further. We should not let them blacken ours aswell.
Russia's war in Chechnya has been a magnet and a motivator for the veryterrorists who threaten Americans worldwide. It has given them newbattlefield experience, extra fund-raising appeal, fresh recruits andgreater fervor - the same fervor they deploy against us.
Mr. Putin says he has been fighting our enemies, alone, for the past twoyears. But has he made them weaker or stronger? The United States needsallies who can help us succeed, not the advice of ones who have alreadyshown how to fail.
If the first threat to Russian-American cooperation is Moscow's effortto cast the Chechens in the role of Osama bin Laden, the second is theattempt to cast neighboring Georgia in the role of the Taliban - thatis, as the protector of terrorists. We have had many differences withthe Russians over Georgia. Mr. Putin seems particularly to enjoyshocking American visitors with his open hatred of the Georgianpresident, Eduard Shevardnadze. But Moscow's attitude has rarely beenmore ominous than it is now.
Since Sept. 11, Russian officials have repeatedly demanded that Georgiaclose down what Russia considers terrorist bases on its territory. Tomake the message more menacing, Russian state television recently aireda respectful interview with Igor Giorgadze, long wanted in Georgia fortrying to assassinate Mr. Shevardnadze.
No one disputes that of the several thousand Chechen refugees Georgiahas accepted, some are armed fighters. The Georgian government has to domore to contain this problem. But, although weak and disorganized, ithas already cooperated with the Russian army in policing the border, hasinvited foreign monitors into border areas and camps, and has launchedperiodic offensives to keep order among the refugees.
Russia's charge that Georgia is a Taliban-style haven for terrorists ispreposterous. The danger it creates, however, cannot be ignored. WhenPresident Bush meets Mr. Shevardnadze today in Washington, he shouldleave no doubt about America's support for Georgia.
A third obstacle to lasting cooperation is the one on which many wartimealliances founder: postwar arrangements. When Mr. Putin chose not to tryto keep his Central Asian neighbors from cooperating with the UnitedStates, he removed a major obstacle to a successful war effort. Yet indoing so, he is likely to have tried to assure skeptical advisers thathis choice would not lead to a long-term American military presence inCentral Asia.
Was he right? Before Sept. 11, it would have been easy to answer yes.American interest in the region has been increasing, but nothingsuggested the need for deeper military involvement.
The cooperation now developing between the United States and CentralAsian governments will change all this. Those that put themselves in theline of fire with us today will face the risk of retaliation and revengetomorrow.
They will want a shield: maybe thin, or even invisible, but real. Andthey will not want to rely exclusively on the two countries - Russia andChina - that may be quickest to offer their services. One Uzbek officialsaid just this week, "We want a guarantee that America will not begin aconflict and then just leave us to deal with the consequences."
It is no longer honest to disclaim, or prudent to forswear, thepossibility of some kind of American military presence in Central Asialasting well beyond a round or two of antiterrorist operations.Remembering the damage done by our indifference to Afghanistan once ithad driven out the Soviet army, the United States cannot easily walkaway from this war when it is over. Russia, having thought of the regionas its natural sphere of influence for 150 years, will not easily acceptour staying. Moscow and Washington may not be able to come to grips withthis issue yet, but when and how they take it up will say a great dealabout the depth and durability of their rapprochement.
Stephen Sestanovich is senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relationsand professor of diplomacy at Columbia University. return to menu
2. U.S., Russia Recast Their Relationship Anti-Terror Agenda Appears To Be Framework for Future
October 4, 2001
(for personal use only)
Richard L. Armitage flew through the night from Washington, landing inMoscow just after sunrise. The barrel-chested weightlifter, who isSecretary of State Colin L.Powell's deputy and dearest friend, headed for a government mansion,where he was closeted with his Russian counterpart, VyacheslavTrubnikov, a senior deputy foreign minister and former head of theKremlin's Foreign Intelligence Service.
Just a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Armitage had beendispatched on a hastily arranged mission to ask for Russia's help intracking down Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his militant cadres and inmounting a military reprisal against them.
But beyond the specific requests made during a full day of discussionsthat included midday talks over a buffet of traditional Russian meatsand potato dishes, Armitage was posing a far more fundamental question:Were the two former Cold War adversaries prepared -- 12 years after thefall of the Berlin Wall -- to transform their still antagonisticrelations?
What the two men discussed that day, according to accounts by U.S. andRussian officials, led to one of the most intensive series of meetings,telephone conversations and back-channel communications between the twogovernments in many years. Emboldened by their united front againstterrorism, the Bush and Putin administrations embarked on a course thatcould fundamentally recast U.S.-Russia relations.
Though it remains early, officials in both governments say that byputting the battle against terrorism at the top of their agendas, theyare creating an entirely new framework for bilateral relations. It hasopened the possibility of collaboration in other areas that would haveseemed impossible only a month ago.
In the most visible embodiment of that change yet, President VladimirPutin paid the first visit by a Russian leader to NATO headquarters inBrussels yesterday and announced that Moscow could accept the furtherenlargement of the Western alliance, created and long maintained solelyto confront the Red Army. But the announcement could also reshape thediscussion of other divisive issues as well, including Russia's waragainst separatists in Chechnya, Russia's debt to the West, regionalsecurity in Asia and the Middle East, and the Bush administration'splans to proceed with a missile defense system by withdrawing from the1972 Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty.
"This is a second chance of the same value as 1991 to change ourrelations and the way we see each other," said Mikhail Margelov, amember of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russianparliament, who is close to Putin.
"Twelve years after the wall came down, it's a reminder that we facecommon challenges and a potential for cooperation," said a senior U.S.official.
As he walked into the ornate, 200-year-old mansion in downtown Moscow onSept. 19, Armitage was accompanied by a small team of U.S. diplomats andmilitary and intelligence officials. According to U.S. officials, hemade clear what the Bush administration was seeking as it readied itsresponse to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
He asked the Russians to share their intelligence about bin Laden's alQaeda network and their experiences in conducting military operations inAfghanistan, so painfully earned in the 1980s while battling U.S.-fundedmujaheddin fighters. He asked about Russian support for the oppositionNorthern Alliance, which is battling the ruling Taliban movement inAfghanistan that protects bin Laden.
Most sensitively, he said the United States intended to dispatch itsforces to the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,which are strategically perched on Afghanistan's northern border. Manyof Russia's top generals and security chiefs were loath to allowAmerican troops in their traditional sphere of influence, but Armitagedid not want the Kremlin to stand in the way.
"If you can find a way to be helpful, we'd appreciate it," he told them,according to a Bush administration official.
'We're Inclined to Be Helpful'
In the initial chaotic hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, Putin was thefirst foreign leader to speak with Bush, reaching him on Air Force One.Bush had placed U.S. forces on high alert, a move that previously wouldhave prompted the Russians to respond in kind. But Putin wanted to tellthe president directly that Russian troops had instead been ordered tostand down, avoiding an escalation in tension on an already traumaticday.
"It was a moment where it clearly said to me that he understands theCold War is over," Bush recalled later.
The two presidents spoke again the following day after Bush returned tothe White House. In a pair of brief telephone conversations, Putin saidhe had decreed a moment of silence across Russia and the lowering offlags to half-staff. The two men agreed to cooperate in pursuing thosebehind the terrorist attacks but set few details.
Over the following days, it became clear that attacks had upended theagenda for U.S.-Russian relations.
Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton had been forced by the attacks todelay a meeting with Russian officials scheduled in London on Sept. 13at which he was to discuss the administration's plans for developing anew anti-missile shield. By the time Bolton caught up with his Russiancounterparts a day later in Moscow, counterterrorism had become the toppriority.
Indeed, while the administration says it still intends to withdraw fromthe 1972 ABM Treaty despite Russian resistance, U.S. officials have beenlargely silent on the matter since Sept. 11. Some Russian officials,meantime, have softened their criticism of the U.S. plan.
But ranking Russian security officials were not ready to sign on to theU.S. vision of the new campaign on terrorism. At a summit in Armeniafour days after the attacks, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov aired theold-line Russian animosity to any U.S. military action, rebuffingsuggestions that the United States and its allies could stage reprisalsfrom former Soviet bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. "I see absolutelyno basis for even hypothetical suppositions about the possibility ofNATO military operations on the territory of Central Asian nations," hetold reporters.
Similar sentiments from other Russian generals and nationalistpoliticians were clouding the air when Armitage arrived in Moscow, freshfrom winning Pakistan's help in hunting down bin Laden at a meeting inWashington with Pakistan's intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed.
Armitage knew Trubnikov, his Russian counterpart. They had met in May inthe context of a U.S.-Russian working group on Afghanistan establishedduring the final year of the Clinton administration. Now, RussianForeign Minister Igor Ivanov instructed that the working group take upspecific operational issues related to the U.S. response to theterrorist attacks.
Meeting a Russian delegation composed mainly of military andintelligence officials, Armitage and his team laid out some initialfindings of the investigation into the terrorist attacks and some of theearly U.S. planning for a response. The Americans then detailed the"specific sorts of things that could be useful," includingintelligence-sharing and Russia's public acquiescence to U.S. use of thebases in Central Asia, said a senior administration official. Thesession was businesslike, said another U.S. official. "They talkedturkey."
The Russians had arrived wanting to demonstrate that tension between thecountries' security services -- aggravated by the February arrest inNorthern Virginia of Robert P. Hanssen, an FBI agent turned Russian spy-- was in the past.
"The level of cooperation during the meeting was incredible," Margelovsaid.
Armitage and Trubnikov wrapped up the talks early enough in the eveningto check in with their bosses. Armitage called Powell. Trubnikov calledForeign Minister Ivanov, who as it happened was in Washington forscheduled talks with officials in preparation for a pair of meetingslater this year between Bush and Putin. The word came back from Ivanov:"We're inclined to be helpful," recalled a U.S. official.
That spirit was immediately evident in the meetings that the Russianforeign minister held that day at the State Department with Powell andat the White House with Bush. This was the eighth meeting between Powelland his counterpart. They had started building a rapport in their firstget-together in Cairo in February, agreeing to use first names.
But by this meeting, there was both a congeniality in atmosphere andseriousness of substance, said a senior administration official. Gonewas the kind of sparring that characterized high-level, U.S.-Russiantalks in the past. "We'd moved a long way with the Russians," saidanother senior U.S. official.
Standing outside the State Department along C Street moments later,Ivanov signaled publicly that Russia would accept a U.S. militaryresponse, telling reporters, "I have said that in combatinginternational terrorism, no means can be excluded, including the use offorce." Moments earlier, he had privately said something even moremomentous to Powell: Moscow would not counsel Uzbekistan, Tajikistan andits other former Central Asian republics against allowing the presenceof U.S. troops.
Putin Decided to 'Go With His Gut'
That Saturday, Sept. 22, found the two presidents at their respectiveretreats -- Bush at Camp David, Putin at Bocharov Ruchey on the BlackSea -- convening their most influential national security officials.Putin called 12 of his top military, security and intelligence chiefs,including the defense and interior ministers and national securityadviser, to his sumptuous summer residence in the resort of Sochi.According to Russian press accounts, Putin had never assembled so manyof these senior officials.
Putin needed to "meet and look in their eyes," Margelov said. He wanted"to see everybody is ready to agree and see that everybody is ready tobe creative."
Bush, meantime, had settled into Camp David for a morning of warplanning with CIA Director George J. Tenet, national security adviserCondoleezza Rice and Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. Powell, DefenseSecretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other members of the National SecurityCouncil joined them on secure video lines.
When the NSC discussion was finished, Bush called the Black Sea, pullingPutin out of his six-hour conclave with his security chiefs. The twoleaders spoke, through translators, for 40 minutes.
"The phone call made a big impression on [Putin]. He decided to go withhis gut. He decided to go with the West," said Russia expert Michael A.McFaul of the Carnegie Endowment, who heard Russian accounts of thediscussion.
During what may be the most fateful conversation of Bush's short tenurein office, Putin informed him of his decision about the Central Asianrepublics. He also assured Bush that Russia would share its intelligenceand provide an air corridor for humanitarian missions to Afghanistan inconnection with the U.S. campaign.
The Russians told the administration that Putin would be making a majorpolicy statement on Chechnya. They made clear that they expected apositive, public response from the White House. Bush administrationofficials said they would listen closely to Putin's remarks and, if theywere indeed forthcoming, the United States would respond favorably.
A Positive Statement
Putin took to the airwaves on Monday, Sept. 24. In a brief speech, hetold his countrymen that Russia would support the U.S.-led campaignagainst bin Laden's al Qaeda network by sharing intelligence, providingairspace for humanitarian flights and participating in search-and-rescuemissions. He said Russia would supply arms to the Northern Alliancefighting the Taliban movement. And he said Russia had "coordinated thisposition with our allies among the Central Asian states. They share thisposition and do not rule out providing use of their airfields."
Putin then raised the Chechnya conflict. Moscow's brutal crackdown onseparatists in the southern Russian republic has long been a sore pointin U.S.-Russian relations, with the United States regularly condemningRussia for human rights abuses there.
Putin repeated the long-standing Russian line that internationalterrorism played a role in the Chechen uprising. But he added this timethat it also had its "own history," recognizing that local factorscontributed to Chechen grievances. And he reversed his earlierresistance to a political settlement, giving Chechen leaders 72 hours tostart negotiations with Moscow.
By framing the Chechen issue this way and linking it explicitly toRussian help for Bush's anti-terrorism campaign, Putin maximized thechance of winning praise from Washington. This would help bolster hisstanding with his domestic opponents.
But that praise was slow. Bush officials scrutinized Putin's words,trying to decipher how serious he was about resolving the conflictpeacefully. National Security Council officials, in particular Rice,pressed for a clear, positive response. State Department officials wereskeptical, more wary of giving Putin a green light to pursue hiscrackdown on Chechnya if the political talks failed.
A day later, Sept. 25, State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucherwelcomed Putin's offer of help in Central Asia but gave at best alukewarm response to Putin's comments about political talks with theChechens. "I don't think we ourselves have been able to clarify them,"he told reporters cryptically.
Putin's allies in Moscow, such as top liberal politician Boris Nemtsov,were becoming frantic. Putin had gone out on a limb on Monday. They felthe was exposed to his domestic critics, particularly military hawksobjecting to his comments on Central Asia and political talks onChechnya. They fretted that the Bush administration was offering littlecover. Telephones began ringing around the United States as theseliberal allies began calling their American friends, begging them tointervene with the administration on Putin's behalf.
"We looked hard at what Putin said. It contained elements that wereself-serving and elements that were potentially real," said a senioradministration official. "We decided to act as if there might besomething positive in the statement."
The next day, Sept. 26, the break came. The NSC's viewpoint prevailed.White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who had never mentionedChechnya in his daily briefings, made a statement to reporters. Seniorofficials had labored over the wording. Much of it was identical to whatBoucher said a day earlier.
But Fleischer added a few crucial lines. He recognized Putin's televisedaddress as "a very important speech," saying that Bush appreciated theRussian offer of cooperation in fighting terrorism. And Fleischer added,"The president also wants to note particularly President Putin's remarksabout the situation in Chechnya."
For the first time, the Bush White House said it shared Putin's concernsabout the role of "international terrorists" in Chechnya and called onthe Chechen leadership unconditionally to dissociate itself from groupslike al Qaeda. While urging both Russians and Chechens to refrain fromhuman rights violations, Fleischer said Bush welcomed the "sinceresteps" Putin took to open a political dialogue with the rebels.
U.S. administrations had previously noted the role of outside agitatorsin the Chechen war but had never endorsed a Russian call on the Chechensto expel the militants, according to Stephen R. Sestanovich, PresidentBill Clinton's special envoy to Russia and the former Soviet republics."The tone was definitely more supportive," he said.
The Bush administration had noticed what Sestanovich called anun-Russian enthusiasm by Putin in supporting the U.S.-coalition againstbin Laden without churlishness or haggling over the price. "Putin hasbeen very open and unguarded enough to make people wonder whether he'strying to seize the moment for a basic reorientation," he said.
McFaul of the Carnegie Endowment said Putin has made clear he believesMoscow must throw in its lot with the West even if the bulk of theRussian elite is not behind him.
"Potentially," McFaul said, "this could be the real end of the ColdWar." return to menu
3. Despite Warming, U.S.-Russia Relations Face Hurdles
October 4, 2001
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite warming ties between the United Statesand Russia following last month's hijack attacks, President Bush'snational security adviser said on Thursday that disputes over weaponsproliferation and Chechnya would not be swept "under the rug."
Russia has emerged as a key U.S. ally in the hunt for Osama bin Laden,the Saudi-born militant Washington blames for the Sept. 11 attacks onthe World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered the United States broadanti-terrorism support, including opening the country's air space torelief missions, taking part in search-and-rescue operations and armingforces opposed to the Taliban, which control most of Afghanistan andare believed to be sheltering bin Laden.
Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice , hailed Russia'sclose cooperation, singling out Putin's phone call to Bush shortly afterthe attacks as a "crystallizing moment for the end of the Cold War."
The U.S.-Russian engagement until Sept. 11 was focused largely on Bush'sproposal for a missile defense plan that Putin has never embraced.
"The United States and Russia may be well on their way to afundamentally different relationship," Rice said. "That fundamentallydifferent relationship, as it becomes based more and more on commonvalues, will serve not only Russia and the United States well, but theentire world."
But Rice said serious disputes remained, particularly over proliferationand human rights, and warned against complacency.
"We're getting better at working through our differences," she told ameeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council on Thursday.
"But it would not be very good for either side to simply sweep underthe rug the fact that we continue to have some differences. That willnot serve us well in the long term," Rice said.
Specifically, Rice said the White House would continue to pressureMoscow to curb the proliferation of weapons, particularly to Iran.According to administration officials, Russian companies were helpingIran develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
"It's our view that this is not good for Russia, and not good for theUnited States and not good for the region," Rice said.
She also insisted that Washington would not back down on the issue ofhuman rights in Chechnya.
In a show of solidarity with Putin, the White House has endorsed a newRussian peace initiative and urged Chechen rebels to cut ties with"terrorist groups."
But Rice said: "That does not mean that we've changed the view thatthere has to be a political solution to Chechnya and that human rightshave to be observed in Chechnya."
MOSCOW - In the build-up to the meeting between President Vladimir Putinand NATO Secretary General George Robertson in Brussels on Wednesday,there has been speculation about whether Russia might ask to join NATO.
Putin was asked about this possibility during his visit to Germany lastweek. "Everything depends on what is on offer," he told reporters."There is no longer a reason for the West not to conduct such talks."
Yet, despite a new climate of cooperation between Russia and the West,which surfaced in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the UnitedStates, it is unlikely that Russia will become a member of NATO anytimesoon, experts say. Instead, this week's meeting may open up carefuldiscussions on how Russia and NATO can reconfigure their relationship toserve both parties' needs better.
"Putin won't ask for membership," said Robert Nurick, director of theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow. "But he is likelyto continue to use the new anti-terrorist movement as a way to put inplace a Russian-NATO agenda that gives Russia more decision-makingpower."
Russia doesn't need to become a member of NATO in order for it to havestronger ties to and more influence in the alliance. Russia and NATO nowcommunicate through the Permanent Joint Council. The council, which wasset up in 1997, was designed to give Russia a voice instead of a veto.But Russia has longed viewed the council as a platform through whichNATO simply announces its decisions. NATO may now try to draw Russiacloser by reforming the council so that Russia is actually consultedahead of time about key NATO decisions, Nurick said Monday.
Even if Russia did want to become a NATO member, the country would haveto undergo some severe internal transformations. For starters, it wouldhave to comply with current NATO rules, which require full civiliancontrol of the military, a policy that is not in place in Russia.
"There can't be more than seven or eight lines on military spending inthe preliminary budget the Duma just adopted for next year," saidAlexander Salsavelyev, head of the military-policy section at theInstitute of World Economy and International Relations at the RussianAcademy ofSciences. "That's certainly not enough to claim that the Duma controlsmilitary spending."
Russia has given no signals that it's anxious to transform in order tobe admitted to NATO. In fact, the messages coming out of Moscow are theopposite. They suggest that Russia isn't interested in joining NATOunless NATO changes.
"Some people are saying that the new question is whether Russia shouldjoin NATO," said Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected political analyst."The real question is how should NATO change so that Russia can join."
To become a member, Russia would want NATO to decrease its militaryforces and weaponry, Markov said. It would also want NATO to denymembership to Latvia and Estonia.
If such barriers were overcome and Russia became a member of NATO, thealliance's role in the world would be transformed. With membership,Russia would receive veto power. Because Russia is sometimes at oddswith NATO, as was the case with NATO's military action over Kosovo, itsright to veto NATO decisions could cripple the alliance's ability totake action supported by Europe and the United States.
Perhaps most signficant would be the extension of NATO's land borders toChina. Such an extension would force NATO to take China intoconsideration when debating whether to use the Article 5 mutual-defenseclause. "I doubt NATO members would be happy to assume responsibilityfor the Russian-Chinese border," said Salsavelyev.
And, of course, if Russia really wants to become a member of NATO, itwill have to apply like everybody else. The Soviet Union made a requestin 1953, after the death of Stalin. When Nikita Khrushchev asked tojoin, the United States and Britain refused. return to menu
D. Russia-Iran Cooperation
1. Russia and Iran: Comrades in arms
Asia Times Online
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW - For those with cash to spend, Russia has a lot to offer besidescrude oil and natural gas. Moscow and Tehran this week signed agreementsfor further supplies of Russian military equipment to Iran, to be worthUS$300-400 million annually over several years.
Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was due to leave Russia onThursday after a four-day visit to formalize the arms accord that wasoutlined during Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Moscow inMarch.
On October 2, the defense ministers of Russia and Iran signed aframework agreement on military cooperation. Russian Defense MinisterSergei Ivanov said that Russia would only provide Iran with "defensive"weapons, adding that such sales would not violate internationalagreements. The agreement is not directed against third countries,Shamkhani said. He also described Iran's relations with Russia as"historical and long-term". This week's meetings took on newsignificance in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in theUnited States. Iran and Russia have expressed their willingness to helpequip the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance forces, but both countries areconcerned about the consequences of possible US strikes intoAfghanistan. Iran has warned the US not to use its airspace for anyattacks. "Today our cooperation is becoming more urgent. The situationprompts that," Interfax news agency quoted Shamkhani as saying.
Government officials are yet to divulge details of the upcoming deals,but sources and analysts say that they may include spare parts forRussian-made weapons, new fighter jets, and possibly air defense,ground-to-ground and anti-ship systems. Some Russian media outlets havespeculated that Tehran is interested in acquiring long-range S-300 airdefense missiles, and medium-range Buk M1 and Tor M1 air defensemissiles.
Iranian military officials are also reportedly considering purchasingSukhoi Su-27 fighter jets with a range of more than 3,000 kilometers,Iskander-E tactical ground-to-ground missiles with a range of nearly 300kilometers, and 550 BMP-3 armored infantry vehicles.
Iran also would like to buy supersonic Mosquito and Yakhont anti-shipmissiles. The Yakhont missiles have a range of 300 kilometers. TheMosquito missiles, manufactured at the Progress plant in Arseniyev,Primorie region, near the border with China, have a range of 120kilometers. The missiles fly at altitudes below 10 meters and theirdesigners claim that Russia previously sold them to both China andVietnam. The delivery of the Mosquito missile system to China was a partof larger, $800 million deal to build two Sovremenny-class destroyersfor the Chinese navy.
It has been speculated that the missiles could eventually be deployed ina conflict over the Spratly islands. Rich fishing grounds and thepotential for gas and oil deposits have caused the Spratly archipelagoto be claimed in its entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, whileportions are claimed by Malaysia and the Philippines. All five partieshave occupied certain islands or reefs, and occasional clashes haveoccurred between Chinese and Vietnamese naval forces.
When it comes to armaments, Russian technology still sells. Apart fromChina, India has purchased submarines and frigates equipped withanti-ship missile systems.
Russian media outlets have speculated that Iran is keen to purchaseanti-ship missile systems in order to control crucial sea routes in thePersian Gulf. However, Russian officials have dismissed these fears."The arms supply agreement is not going to undermine the regionalbalance of forces." Ivanov was quoted as saying by the RussianInformation Agency.
The latest commitment between Russia and Iran is contrary to a secretmemorandum signed in 1995 by then US vice president Al Gore and thenprime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin which obliged Russia to stopdeliveries of weaponry systems to Iran by December 31, 2001, and torefrain from signing any new arms deals with the country.
Prior to the signing of this memorandum, Russia had delivered threeProject 877 diesel submarines and eight MiG-29 fighters to Iran and solda T-72 tank production license as part of a series of deals dating backto the 1980s.
Russian experts say that Iran may become Russia's third biggest armsbuyer after China and India. Iran's ambassador to Moscow, Mehdi Safari,said in February that Russia could overall earn up to $7 billion in thenext few years by resuming full-scale military cooperation with Iran.
Moreover, Russian military experts indicate that Iran wants to useRussian defense equipment on its 1,000 kilometer border withAfghanistan. This would be used to help Iran stop the flow of narcoticsfrom Afghanistan through its territory and limit the losses of Iranianborder guards trying to block the drug trade. Russia's Interfax newsagency quoted unidentified sources in the Russian Federal Border GuardService as saying that Shamkhani had tentatively approved a draft toequip all of Iran's borders with Russian surveillance systems.
On Thursday, Shamkhani visited Russia's second largest city and majordefense industry hub, St Petersburg. The Iranian minister was due tovisit the Northern Warf shipbuilding plant, notably to inspect theso-called Project 20382 naval vessels, with an estimated price tag of$50 million each.
The Kremlin secured a number of deals when Iranian President MohammadKhatami visited Russia in March, becoming the first Iranian leader inMoscow in 27 years. Khatami met with Russian President Vladimir Putin onMarch 12 and they signed a cooperation treaty, the first major accordclinched by the two countries since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.
The treaty did not make Russia and Iran strategic partners, but aimed atfurther strengthening partner-like, neighborly relations. The dealstipulates, among other things, that neither nation would allow its landto be used by "separatists" acting against the other nation.
On October 2, Shamkhani warned against what he described as a policy ofdouble standards in the battle against terrorism. When Russia wastargeted by terrorists recently, some countries supported them, he said,arguably referring to the United States.
During his Moscow visit Shamkhani also negotiated with Ivanov on how theoil and gas riches of the Caspian Sea should be shared. They avoided anydirect reference to the United States in their comments, but indirectlyopposed US policy in the Caspian Sea region.
The Caspian settlement "does not require the presence of non-littoralstates", Shamkhani said. In response, Ivanov stated that the fivelittoral nations "do not need outside intermediaries" to settle theirdifferences.
Russia and Iran will not recognize maritime borders in the Caspian untilthe sea's legal status is settled. The Caspian Sea is landlocked betweenAzerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Since the demiseof the Soviet Union in 1991, the Caspian Sea - as well as the regionsurrounding it - has became the focus of much international attentiondue to its huge oil and gas reserves. The Sea, which is 700 miles long,contains six separate hydrocarbon basins, and most of the oil and gasreserves in the Caspian Sea region have not yet been developed yet.
Economic relations between Russia and Iran are experiencing a revival.Annual trade turnover was just $200 million five years ago, while itreached $600 million last year, of which 90 percent comprised Russianexports to Iran.
However, Russia has long come under heavy criticism from the West forits help in building the Bushehr nuclear plant on Iran's Gulf coast. TheUS claims that the Russian technology could be used to develop nuclearweapons, but Moscow and Tehran argue that the plant will only be usedfor civilian purposes and will remain under international control.
Moscow has brushed off repeated US demands that it cancels the $800million 1,000-megawatt light-water nuclear reactor project. The Kremlinhas repeatedly argued that it is abiding by international agreementsbanning the proliferation of nuclear technologies.
Although the West now shares Russia and Iran's opposition to theTaliban's radicalism, it remains to be seen whether an emerging jointstance against international terrorism may silence Western criticism ofRussia's arms sales to Iran. return to menu
E. Russian Nuclear Industry
1. Russia To Resume Building Ural Nuclear Plant In 2004 After Two Decades On Hold
BBC Monitoring Service
October 3, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax
Chelyabinsk, 3 October: The construction of the South Urals nuclearpower plant, which was phased out in 1987-1989, will be resumed in 2004rather than in 2005, as was originally planned, General Director of theplant Vladimir Morozov has told Interfax.
The construction will be financed completely from the federal budget,and its resumption was pushed forward after the Russian Atomic Ministryamended the programme of the development of the atomic industry spherefor the period up to 2015, the general director said.
At the same time, Morozov noted, the exact amount of funds to financethe construction of the nuclear plant has not been defined yet.According to the Atomic Ministry's programme, the federal budget-2004will earmark R1.5bn for construction operations at six nuclear powerplants in Russia, including the South Urals plant.
The South Urals nuclear plant is to be put into operation before 2015,Morozov said. The midterm programme up to 2005 envisions thecommissioning of the Kursk and Kalinin nuclear power plants.
The South Urals nuclear plant is to consist of three 800-mWt powerunits. The projected cost of the construction of the first unit isR2.828bn in 1991 prices, and an estimated cost of building each of thefollowing two units is R1bn.
Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1343 gmt 3 Oct 01 return to menu
F. US Nuclear Forces
1. U.S. Pressed on Nuclear Response : A Policy of Less Ambiguity, More Pointed Threat Is Urged
October 5, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York haveinvigorated national security strategists inside and outside thegovernment who favor using nuclear arms to deter and respond to chemicalor biological attacks.
Conservatives outside the administration have been calling on theadministration to make an explicit threat to use nuclear weapons torespond to a biological or chemical attack. This would change along-standing U.S. policy of refusing to rule in or rule out use ofnuclear weapons in the event of such an attack.
So far, at least, senior Bush administration officials have maintainedthis policy of deliberate ambiguity, though some administration figuresappear to be sympathetic to a change that would entail a more specificthreat.
A report issued in January by the National Institute for Public Policy(NIPP) declared that "U.S. nuclear weapons may be necessary" to deterregional powers from using weapons of mass destruction or for "providingunique targeting capabilities" including buried or biological weaponstargets. "Under certain circumstances, very severe nuclear threats maybe needed to deter any of these potential adversaries," it said.
Among the report's authors were Stephen Hadley, now President Bush'sdeputy national security adviser, Robert G. Joseph, the head ofproliferation strategy at the National Security Council, and Stephen A.Cambone and William Schneider Jr., key Bush defense advisers.
Proponents said last month's attacks on New York and Washington affirmtheir views. "September 11 really underscores the need to look at a fullrange of flexible options," said David Smith, a defense consultant whowas an author of the NIPP report. "What we were trying to get at thereis we don't believe the current arsenal of the United States ispersuasively deterrent to all comers."
Many Bush administration officials have endorsed the notion of switchingto smaller nuclear arms that could be used for, among other things,hitting chemical and biological weapons sites and targeting figures,such as Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, who hide in deep undergroundbunkers.
A report in June 2000 by Stephen Younger, who has been named to head theDefense Department's Threat Reduction Agency, called for smaller nuclearweapons as part of a "fundamental rethinking of the role of nuclearweapons."
Though a shift in the arsenal would take years to implement, an earlysign will be the Nuclear Posture Review underway in the Pentagon and dueto Congress by year's end. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,Gen. Richard B. Myers, during his confirmation hearing Sept. 13, saiddeterrence against weapons of mass destruction "is a critical component"of the review. He also pointed out that the military already has "anumber of low-yield weapons in the current stockpile."
Another author of the NIPP study, Southwest Missouri State University'sWilliam R. Van Cleave, said the review will argue "that we need toregain some capability for some low-yield [nuclear] weapons andparticularly earth-penetrating low-yield weapons." Van Cleave, whosecolleague, J.D. Crouch, is now assistant undersecretary of defense forinternational security policy, said some Bush advisers "believe we havemarginalized nuclear weapons too much. We have removed them fromextended deterrence too much."
Among his friends in the administration, Van Cleave said, "there's asentiment for the view the way I expressed it."
For the last decade or so, U.S. leaders have been deliberately ambiguousabout using nuclear weapons to respond to a chemical and biologicalthreat. Then-Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney said in December 1990that "were Saddam Hussein foolish enough to use weapons of massdestruction, the U.S. response would be absolutely overwhelming and itwould be devastating." Administration officials later said Cheney wasn'timplying a nuclear threat.
Others defend the ambiguous nature of U.S. policy. "We've purposefullyavoided drawing bright lines in the past about when we might use nuclearweapons," said a former senior Clinton administration official. "If wechange that now, it would upset a lot of our core NATO allies, not tomention others in the coalition against terrorism we're trying tobuild."
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared that "the United States willnot use nuclear weapons against any nonnuclear weapon state" that isparty to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, unless the United Statesor its interests are attacked "by such a state allied to a nuclearweapon state." According to the State Department, this declaration hasbeen reaffirmed by every successive administration.
So far in the current crisis, top administration officials havecontinued the ambiguous wording of threats. Asked by Fox News on Sundaywhether it would be reasonable for the United States to respond to achemical or biological attack with nuclear weapons, White House Chief ofStaff Andrew H. Card Jr. said: "I'm not going to talk about theoperations that might be considered by the Defense Department and thepresident. But we're going to do everything we can to defend the UnitedStates."
A week earlier, on CBS News's "Face the Nation," Defense SecretaryDonald H. Rumsfeld, asked if he had ruled out the use of nuclear weaponsin the current conflict, replied that the country had never ruled out afirst nuclear strike. "What we need to do, it seems to me, as a country,is to recognize how different this situation is, and then thetraditional -- think of it, the deterrence that worked in the Cold Wardidn't work," he said.
Some arms control experts believe the Bush administration's statementsso far already go beyond past administrations' ambiguity. "That is animplied threat," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the ArmsControl Association. "They've crossed the line or they're at the line byimplying the possible use."
Opponents said nuclear threats will encourage nuclear proliferation andworry friendly governments. "It would create its own crisis, fracturethe alliance and have no military purpose," said Joseph Cirincione ofthe Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. return to menu