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Nuclear News - 12/10/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 10, 2001
Compiled by David Smigielski


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Eye on a Worldwide Weapons Cache, Dick Lugar, Washington Post (12/06/01)
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. The Nuke Pipeline, Jeffrey Kluger, Time.com (12/17/01)
    2. Al Qaeda's Nuclear Agenda Verified, Arnaud de Borchgrave, The Washington Times (12/10/01)
    3. Uranium Seized Near Moscow Not Weapons-Grade Material, The Associated Press (12/10/01)
    4. Security Committee To Warn West Of Terrorist Capabilities, RFE/RL Newsline (12/07/01)
C. U.S.-Russia Relations
    1. Powell Says Nuclear Deal Is Close, Alan Sipress, Washington Post (12/10/01)
    2. Nuclear Warhead Arsenal Trimmed: U.S., Russia Meet START I Deadline of Cuts to 6,000 Weapons Each or Fewer, Walter Pincus Washington Post (12/06/01)
    3. French Daily Analyzes Russia, US Relations in Aftermath of 11 September, Jan Krauze, Paris' Le Monde (12/2/01)
D. Russia-NATO Relations
    1. Nato Back-Pedals On New Ties With Russia, Judy Dempsey, Financial Times (12/06/01)
    2. Putin Plays Waiting Game With Uncertain Nato Alliance, Judy Dempsey, Financial Times (12/04/01)
E. Announcements
    1. Meeting Between Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov and US Under Secretary of State John Bolton (12/06/01)
    2. Statement By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On The Achievement Of The Final Reductions Under The START Treaty (12/05/01)
F. Links of Interest
    1. The START I Milestone: What Does it Mean to the United States? Jon Wolfsthal (12/07/0) http://www.ceip.org/files/nonprolif/templates/article.asp?NewsID=1886
    2. Secrecy and Dependence: The UK Trident System in the 21st Century, Nicola Butler and Mark Bromley, Research Report 2001.3 (11/01) http://www.basicint.org/nuk_trident01_part1.htm

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Eye On A Worldwide Weapons Cache
Dick Lugar
Washington Post
December 6, 2001
(for personal use only)


The United States is engaged in a global war against Muslim religiousextremists who seek to reorder the world by destroying our country andvarious other nations allied with us.

The war proceeds in a world awash with nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons and materials of mass destruction stored principally in theUnited States and Russia, but also in India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran,Libya, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Israel, Great Britain, France andChina and perhaps other nations.

Throughout much of the past decade, vulnerability to the use of weaponsof mass destruction has been the number one national security dilemmaconfronting the United States, even as it received scant attention. Theevents of Sept. 11 and the subsequent public discovery of al Qaeda'smethods, capabilities and intentions have finally brought ourvulnerability to the forefront.

The terrorists have demonstrated suicidal tendencies and are beyonddeterrence. We must anticipate that they will use weapons of massdestruction if allowed the opportunity. The minimum standard for victoryin this war is the prevention of any of the individual terrorists orterrorist cells from obtaining weapons or materials of mass destruction.

The war effort in Afghanistan is destroying the Afghan-based al Qaedanetwork and the Taliban regime. It is a war meant in part to demonstratethat governments that are hosts to terrorists face destruction.

But as we prosecute this war, we must pay much more attention to theother side of the equation: making certain that all weapons andmaterials of mass destruction are identified, continuously guarded andsystematically destroyed.

The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was enacted in 1991to address the dominant international proliferation danger: the massivenuclear, chemical and biological weapons infrastructure of the formerSoviet Union. The Nunn-Lugar program has devoted American technicalexpertise and money to joint U.S.-Russian efforts to safeguard anddestroy materials and weapons of mass destruction in Russia.

During the first 10 years of Nunn-Lugar, 5,700 Russian nuclear warheadshave been separated from missiles. Many of the warheads have beendismantled and the fissile material (highly enriched uranium orplutonium) safely stored. More than 30,000 tactical nuclear weapons havebeen collected and stored, and peaceful employment has been provided forthousands of Russian nuclear scientists.

Nunn-Lugar also has worked to contain chemical weapons in Russia, whichhas ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention requiring destruction ofall of these weapons in 10 years. Forty thousand metric tons of chemicalweapons have been stored in seven locations awaiting destruction.Progress has been made toward controlling Russian biological materials,though their status is less certain.

Unfortunately, beyond Russia, there are no Nunn-Lugar-style programsaimed at nonproliferation. We lack even minimal international confidenceabout many weaponsprograms, including the number of weapons or amounts of materialsproduced, the storage procedures employed, and production or destructionplans.

This must change. To restate the terms of minimal victory in the war weare now fighting, every nation that has weapons and materials of massdestruction must account for what it has, safely secure what it has(spending its own money or obtaining international technical andfinancial resources to do so) and pledge that no other nation, cell orcause will be allowed access or use.

This task will be expensive and painstaking. During the first two monthsof the war, many questions have been raised about the security ofPakistan's nuclear program, and similar questions will be raised aboutIndia's. With United Nations inspections of Iraq suspended for more thanthree years, the presence and status of Iraq's weapons and materials ofmass destruction are unknown. Much the same could be said of Iran, Syriaand Libya. Following agreement on the KFOR program in North Korea, whichprovides for internationally financed nuclear power facilities and ahalt to North Korea's nuclear weapons development, the world has animproved, but still imperfect, vantage point from which to watchdevelopments in that country.

Some nations, after witnessing the bombing of Afghanistan and thedestruction of the Taliban government, may decide to proceed along acooperative path of accountability regarding their weapons and materialsof mass destruction. But others may decide to test our will and stayingpower.

Precise replication of the Nunn-Lugar program will not be possibleeverywhere. But a satisfactory level of accountability, transparency andsafety must be established in every nation with a program for weapons ofmass destruction. When nations resist such accountability, or when theymake their territory available to terrorists who are seeking weapons ofmass destruction, our nation must be prepared to use force, as well asall diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal.

The writer is a Republican senator from Indiana.
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B. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
The Nuke Pipeline
Jeffrey Kluger
Time.com
December 17, 2001
(for personal use only)


The six men who gathered at the roadside cafe southeast of Moscow lastThursday did not go there for the food. They went there for the uranium.Some of the men, members of the Balashikha criminal gang, claimed to bein possession of 2 lbs. of uranium 235, the kind of top-shelfradioactive material that can be used to build weapons. They were asking$30,000 for the deadly merchandise. The others--the buyers--seemedprepared to pay it. The deal may actually have gone off had Russiansecurity forces not been watching. They swept in, arrested all six menand were led back to the apartment of a seventh, where a capsulecontaining the promised uranium was hidden.

By that evening, the case--the first officially acknowledged theft inRussia of weapons-grade uranium--was getting big play on local TV. TheRussian police had reason to be proud; the rest of the world had onemore reason to be nervous.

For while the bust was disturbing, it was hardly unique. After 60 yearsof building nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors, the world is fairlyawash in radioactive slag--from spent fuel rods to medical waste andcontaminated tools--much of it held under little if any security inlabs, hospitals and factories. Even the high-test weapons-grade materialthat's supposed to be locked down at military installations is not assecure as it ought to be. Some weapons-storage facilities don't evenhave video monitors.

That such deadly material is so loosely guarded has been the source ofmuch anxiety since Sept. 11--most of it focused on Osama bin Laden andal-Qaeda. Last week reports surfaced of a meeting in Afghanistan atwhich an al-Qaeda associate waved a canister of what he said was nuclearmaterial in the air to demonstrate to bin Laden and others how muchprogress had been made in securing the stuff.

But bin Laden is only a part of the nuclear terror problem. Since thefall of the Soviet Union and the rise of global terrorist groups, a newmarket has emerged to manage the increased supply of--and demandfor--nuclear contraband. More and more radioactive material has beengetting filched, bundled and sent flowing through an increasingly busypipeline from Russia and the old Soviet states into the hands, it isfeared, of people desperate enough to use it.

The Russian government alone lists up to 200 terrorist organizations itbelieves may be trying to obtain nuclear material. In Istanbul lastmonth, Turkish undercover officers arrested two smugglers who attemptedto sell them more than 2.5 lbs. of non-weapons grade uranium for$750,000. In July police in Paris raided an apartment in which three menwere holding a small quantity of highly enriched uranium and planetickets to various East European countries.

And these busts are only the high-profile ones. Russia has broken up 601attempted transactions since 1998. The International Atomic EnergyAgency in Vienna reports 376 since 1993, and Turkey has recorded 104cases of non-weapons grade smuggling in that same time. Moreover, forevery trafficker who has been caught, chances are that many more arestill in the game--a fact that has security planners deeply worried."The global effort to control nuclear weapons is based on control ofnuclear material," says Matthew Bunn, a nuclear expert at Harvard'sKennedy School of Government and a former adviser to President BillClinton. "If that stuff gets on the market, nothing else we do willwork."

The likeliest source of most radioactive booty is Russia and thesurrounding states, and the material they have to offer comes in twovarieties. Top-quality, weapons-grade material is the only kind that canused to build a true nuclear-fission bomb, and is both hard to obtainand harder to turn into an explosive. But lower-grade radioactiverubbish is also dangerous. It can be fashioned into a so-called dirtybomb: a conventional explosive packed with waste that spreads radiationin all directions.

There are at least 100 facilities around the former Soviet Union thatstore warheads and weapons-grade material, and most of them arereportedly not properly secured. Along the country's eastern coast,according to some sources, up to 80 abandoned, loosely guarded nuclearsubmarines are rusting in bays and inlets, their torpedo tubes and otheropenings providing possible access for intruders and an exit forradioactive leakage.

The country's nuclear power plants may be just as porous. At theLeningrad facility near the Gulf of Finland, sources say vodka and drugsflow freely among the workers, most of whom earn barely 3,000 rubles amonth--about $100. Poorly paid, highly inebriated men make a shabby lineof defense against terrorists and traffickers. Vaclav Havlik, a Czechcitizen who was part of a group of uranium smugglers arrested nearMunich in 1994, told Time that obtaining material from Russia was nogreat chore. "It was like going for vacation by the sea and bringingback a sack of shells," he says.

At the same time that smugglers are getting better at obtaining theirmerchandise, they are also getting smarter about transporting it. Thefirst nuclear black marketers carried their contraband straight out ofRussia and into Europe, across some of the best-guarded borders in theworld. As customs officials caught wise, the smugglers started shiftingtheir route south, running a flanking pattern through Central Asia, theCaucasus Mountains and Turkey before resurfacing in Europe. Thismodified buttonhook play allows traffickers to take advantage ofestablished drug routes--a smart strategy, since customs agents in aplace such as Tajikistan, where 200 tons of drugs may cross the borderon a busy day, can easily overlook a few ounces of nuclear contraband.

The black marketeers who get caught are often carrying only a fewspoonfuls of nuclear material, but that's little comfort. More and more,risk-averse traffickers travel with just a taste of what they're sellingrather than the entire inventory. Once they find a buyer, they canattempt the riskier business of delivering the full supply.

Just how little they would need to deliver is another source of worry.While a full-scale nuclear bomb may require 100 lbs. of enricheduranium, a more modest device, particularly one fueled by plutonium,could be built with just 10 lbs. (about 4 kg). "Four kilos ofplutonium," says Lidia Popova of Russia's Center for Nuclear Ecology andEnergy Policy, "is the amount that could sit in your palm."

For terrorists who can't get their hands on any weapons-grade uranium,there's the option of the dirty bomb. Allied forces overrunning asuspected al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan a few weeks ago found at leastone diagram suggesting the design of such a weapon. To build this typeof explosive, terrorists could use almost any kind of nuclearrubbish--perhaps even the water in Russia's Lake Karachai, a nucleardumping ground that fairly crackles with radioactivity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency believes that dirty bombs may notbe as lethal as many people assume. The explosion would be aconventional one, and the radiation might not pack much toxicwallop--depending on wind, topography and the radioactive material. Thedisruption, terror and economic impact, however, would be incalculable.Says Popova: "If such a bomb explodes in a city, very quickly panic willspread."

Despite all this, antiterrorism forces have reason for hope. Turkey,with the help of the U.S., has instituted stepped-up security measuresat its borders, installing radiation detectors at keycrossings--particularly those leading from Iraq, Iran and Georgia.(Unconfirmed reports suggest that Iran and Georgia are doing the same.)The Turkish government won't say explicitly if its security efforts havebeen ratcheted up since Sept. 11. "The answer is pretty obvious," saysErdener Birol, acting head of Turkey's atomic-energy authority.

Like so much else in the terror wars however, the job of truly securingthe nukes--especially in Russia--may fall to the U.S. But Washingtondoesn't seem to be giving the problem top priority. When the BushAdministration took office, a program was already in place to helpRussia dispose of 34 tons of surplus plutonium. When the program crossedthe new President's desk, however, he slashed its projected $87 millionprice tag, seeking just $57 million.

Washington and Moscow have also been hard at work in recent yearsimproving security at Russia's nuclear-material storage sites, only 40%of which come up to U.S. standards. The Clinton Administrationanticipated $225 million for the project this year, a 30% boost over theprevious year. President Bush countered with a $30 million cut. Congresskept the funding at last year's level.

Perhaps the most troubled of the existing antinuclear programs is onethat relies on the power of capitalism. In 1993 the U.S. agreed to buy500 metric tons of Russian nuclear material over 20 years, blending itdown to a less potent form that could be used in American nuclear powerplants. So far, 137 metric tons have been processed and carried off;they account for half the nuclear fuel used in the U.S.

In 1998, however, the U.S. group authorized to buy the material wasprivatized. With the global market for nuclear fuel faltering, the newlyprofit-driven group found itself locked into the price Washington hadagreed to in 1996. In an attempt to square things, the company isseeking a new contract with Russia that would guarantee it rates farbelow market, though talks last week in Moscow failed to resolve thematter. If the Russians--sellers with but a single major buyer--are toldthey have to go along with the price cuts, the program could collapse.

For now, Washington is simply feeling its way, trying to balancesecurity and cost while tending to the countless other battles it mustfight on the home front. Given the power of even a single rogue nuke,however, this battle is clearly one of the most important. "Theconsequences of failure would be far worse than Sept. 11," saysAlexander Strezov, a Bulgarian scientist who helps investigatetrafficking cases. "To be honest, I don't want to think about it." TheU.S., unfortunately, doesn't have that luxury.
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2.
Al Qaeda's Nuclear Agenda Verified
Arnaud de Borchgrave
The Washington Times
December 10, 2001
(for personal use only)


Pakistani intelligence officers were assisting Osama bin Laden's alQaeda organization to develop the ability to build a "dirty" nucleardevice, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies have concluded.Intelligence officers in Washington and Islamabad, speaking on thecondition of anonymity, said they are now convinced that al Qaeda wasattempting to put together a "nuclear device in the dirty bombcategory." Documents uncovered in Kabul and the interrogation of nuclearscientists who were frequent visitors to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan -ostensibly to perform humanitarian work - have produced conclusiveevidence of the fact, the officers said.vOne Pakistani general who has seen the evidence described the device asa "dirty nuclear weapon," meaning one in which radioactive materials arewrapped around conventional explosives. Such a device can contaminate anarea of several square blocks with radiation.The general said he also believes bin Laden obtained such materials onRussia's nuclear black market.

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is aware of 175 casesof trafficking in nuclear materials since 1993, including 18 thatinvolved highly enriched uranium and plutonium pellets the size of asilver dollar. There are 18 million potential delivery vehicles thatcould beused to smuggle a nuclear device into the United States. That is thenumber of cargo containers that arrive in the country annually. Of them,only 3 percent are inspected, and bills of lading do not have to beproduced until the containers reach their destination, according tocurrent regulations.

Radioactivity is invisible, as was the case in the Chernobyl disaster in1986. There is no way of knowing in advance the impact on health 10years hence. It is more a weapon of mass disruption than massdestruction. An unidentified former chief of Pakistan's Inter-ServicesIntelligence (ISI) agency is believed to be the man who coordinated binLaden's nuclear ambitions. One local intelligence source speculated thatbefore September 11, a dirty bomb could have been smuggled out ofAfghanistan in a truck all the way to Karachi and then shipped out in acargo container. That could be the weapon Taliban chief Mullah MohammedOmar was referring to when he said, after the U.S. bombing started Oct.7, that America would soon have to face extinction. Allowing forhyperbole, he may have known what bin Laden was planning next.

Another ex-ISI chief, retired Gen. Hameed Gul, predicted after September11 that one day there would be a single Islamic state that would stretchfrom Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and Afghanistan and that would havenuclear weapons, as well as control of the Gulf's oil resources. Thegeneral is an ISI legend, and still popular among the agency's presentcrop of leaders who were his junior officers in the late 1980s. Gen.Gul, a Muslim fundamentalist, is vehemently anti-American. He acts as"strategic adviser" to Pakistan's extremist religious parties, and spenttwo weeks inAfghanistan just prior to September 11. Gen. Gul is slowly emerging asthe spokesman for the combined opposition of Islamic fundamentalists.

In Urdu-language newspapers on Friday, he was quoted as saying: "No onecan tell us how to run our nuclear facilities and nuclear programs. Thisis being done in the interest of Pakistan, not the United States.Taliban will always remain in Afghanistan, and Pakistan will alwayssupport them." He was presumably referring to the Taliban in itsguerrilla mode, following the fall of Kandahar. Gen. Gul's only daughterruns VARAN, the public transportation bus company that enjoys a monopolyin Islamabad and its twin military garrison city of Rawalpindi. Gen. Gulhimself lives in "Pindi" in an army compound housing developmentearmarked for retired generals.

Officially, the Pakistani government has accepted the explanation ofthree nuclear scientists about their "innocuous" relationship to theTaliban. Privately, however, some Pakistani officials, working closelywith U.S. colleagues, said their activities "cannot be described asinnocuous by any stretch of the imagination." On a brief visit toIslamabad early this month, George Tenet, director of CIA, conferredwith President Pervez Musharraf on what was described as the need for"more and better intelligence" from ISI.

The CIA has reportedly submitted a list of six more nuclear scientistswhom it wants to probe for suspected links to al Qaeda. Two of them, Dr.Suleiman Asad and Dr. Muhammad Ali Muktar, are now in Burma doingundisclosed research with local scientists. Apparently anxious to avoidfurther U.S. probes into Pakistan's ultrasecret nuclear weapons program,these two scientists have been advised by the government to remain inBurma until further notice. Dr. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmud, formerdirector of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), and ChiefEngineer Dr. Chaudry Abdul Majeed have been questioned by a jointFBI-ISI team. According to PAEC sources, the CIA wishes to conduct aseparate interrogation based on documents seized in Kabul.

Dr. Mahmud is a close associate of Gen. Gul. They were colleagues whenGen. Gul ran ISI. Dr. Mahmud is one of three scientists who befriendedTaliban leaders. He is an expert in enriched uranium and plutonium,having lectured all over Pakistan with odes to the Taliban as "the waveof the future for Pakistan." Dr. Mahmud and two of his colleagues weredetained in late October as a result of U.S. questions about Pakistani"relief" organizations active in Taliban-run Afghanistan, including anagricultural project near Kandahar. They admitted to meeting with alQaeda associates of bin Laden and were officially cleared of passing onnuclear secrets. Dr. Mahmud says publicly that plutonium production isnot a state secret, and advocates increasing plutonium output to helpother Islamic nations build nuclear weapons. After the start of the U.S.bombing campaign, Gen. Musharraf ordered an immediate redeployment ofPakistan's nuclear arsenal to six new secret locations, includingseparate storage facilities for uranium and plutonium cores and theirdetonation mechanisms.

Army colleagues now say privately that Gen. Musharraf was fearful ofassassination by extremists who were already accusing him of betrayingIslam and selling out to the United States. There were also rumors of acoup by hard-liners in the military. The officer corps is 20 percentfundamentalist, according to a post-September 11 confidential survey bymilitary intelligence separate from ISI. Pakistan's community of nuclearscientists is held to be "profoundly fundamentalist" and anti-American.They are particularly resentful of U.S. economic and military sanctionsagainst Pakistan as punishment for their country's nuclearweapons program. The community's guru is Abdul Qadir Khan, the scientistwho devised Pakistan's first nuclear weapon. Pakistan now has anestimated 20 such weapons in its arsenal. ISI is still widely distrustedby Western intelligence agencies and by all levels of Pakistani society,from people in the street to top political leaders.

An ISI general who is regional director in one of the tribal areas toldan important tribal leader known to this reporter that "afterAfghanistan, Pakistan is next on America's list of countries to beconquered, and after Pakistan, Iran will be next. All that war talkabout Iraq being next is just a smokescreen." Gen. Gul has been touringFATA (Federally-Administered Tribal Areas) along the border ofAfghanistan with much the same message about Washington's plans forconquest in the region. ISI is undergoing a traumatic shock in the wakeof the Taliban's defeat, according to knowledgeable secular politicalparty leaders.

"They have lost thousands of operatives in Afghanistan," said one keypolitician who asked not to be named. ISI also facilitated the transferto Afghanistan in the past two months of thousands of young religiousschool students who had been proselytized by their clerical teachers tovolunteer to fight with the Taliban. Gen. Musharraf had a dangerousprecedent in mind: Six years ago, a group of Pakistani army officers wasarrested for plotting to kill Army Chief of Staff Gen. Abdul Waheed. Hehad fired the ISI chief for secretly assisting Muslim rebels in severalcountries.
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3.
Uranium Seized Near Moscow Not Weapons-Grade Material
The Associated Press
December 10, 2001
(for personal use only)


The Interior Ministry said Saturday that the uranium seized last weekwhen police arrested a half-dozen men allegedly trying to sell it waslow-grade material that would have been useless to a nuclear terrorist.Police seized more than one kilogram of uranium from six suspects, whoallegedly tried to sell it for $30,000 to an organized-crime group. TheInterior Ministry moved quickly to say that it appeared to be alow-level deal between mob groups and not a bid to sell the material toa terrorist group.

Nuclear experts were called in to analyze the seized uranium, containedin a safe capsule, to determine the exact level of its enrichment andorigins.

Officials said Saturday that the results of the analysis showed that thematerial was relatively low-grade. The suspects had "uranium tablets...of the kind used in heat-releasing elements of power reactors at nuclearpower plants," Bulat Nigmatulin, deputy nuclear power minister, toldInterfax. "Those tablets have nothing to do with weapons-grade uraniumeven theoretically."Viktor Zakharov, head of the Moscow region's Federal Security Service,said the material could even be handled with bare hands.

Police arrested the six suspects overnight from Tuesday to Wednesdaynear a roadside cafe on the Gorky highway 19 kilometers southeast ofMoscow. Investigators said the suspects allegedly belonged to theBalashikha criminal gang.
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4.
Security Committee To Warn West Of Terrorist Capabilities
RFE/RL Newsline
December 7, 2001
(for personal use only)


Duma Security Committee Deputy Chairman Nikolai Kovalev said on 6December that Russia's intelligence community has warned and willcontinue to give the United States any information it receivesindicating that terrorists are in possession of chemical, biological,and atomic weapons, pravda.ru reported. Kovalev added that he supportsPresident Putin's efforts to establish closer ties with the UnitedStates because that policy is facilitating the battle againstinternational terrorism, and because it has made the West more attentiveto Russia's opinions.
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C. U.S.-Russia Relations

1.
Powell Says Nuclear Deal Is Close
Alan Sipress
Washington Post
December 10, 2001
(for personal use only)


A deal between the United States and Russia to sharply reduce nuclearweapons is "just about done," and the two countries are now looking forways to verify that they abide by the proposed limits, Secretary ofState Colin L. Powell said today.

Powell, who is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin onMonday, said discussions were focusing on how to apply verificationmeasures included in the earlier START I and START II arms controltreaties to the new limits proposed for offensive weapons.

The Bush administration has said it was willing to reach a writtenagreement extending these measures, such as mutual inspections andtechnical reconnaissance. Asked by reporters whether this agreementcould take the shape of a formal treaty, a senior State Departmentofficial said today the administration was not ruling out any option.

At a meeting with Putin in the United States last month, President Bushannounced he was prepared to reduce the U.S. stockpile to between 1,700and 2,200 long-range nuclear warheads. Putin said he was willing to cuthis weapons to about a third of their current level, or roughly 2,000warheads. U.S. officials have been waiting to be informed of the exacttotal Russia envisions.

"The offensive weapons are just about done. All we have to do is hear anumber from them and then talk through the verification and otherissues," Powell said on his airplane en route to Moscow, the sixth stopon his tour of European and Central Asian countries. There will be a"big concentration on transparency so both sides know what the other isdoing [and on] exchange of information on our various programs."

Powell sounded less optimistic, however, about an imminent breakthroughin talks on the ABM Treaty that could allow the Bush administration toproceed with testing a missile defense system, now barred by the 1972accord. U.S. officials consider the treaty outmoded, but Putin hascalled it central to maintaining stability between the nuclear powers.

"There is still this disagreement with respect to our missile defenseprograms," Powell said. "Increasingly, the ABM Treaty constrains whatthe president feels we must do in order to get our missile defensesystems. We haven't found yet a way to get through that by theiraccepting the testing we have to do."

While U.S. officials want to scrap the treaty, many in theadministration have been willing to reach an interim understanding withRussia that could allow testing to proceed while putting off a finaldecision about withdrawing from the accord. Powell said he would beseeking "new ideas" in talks with Russian officials about how to permitthe Pentagon's test program to move ahead. The United States is eager toproceed in the coming months with tests that could violate the treaty.

Powell's visit to Moscow is his first since 1992 and his first assecretary of state, but his discussions with Russian officials havebecome almost commonplace. He met this evening with Foreign MinisterIgor Ivanov, their 16th get-together this year and the third just withinthe last week.

In addition to talks on strategic weapons systems, Powell said heintended to speak with Putin about the U.S.-led military campaign inAfghanistan and the NATO decision last week to integrate Russia moreclosely into the alliance.

Although missile defense remains one of the administration's top foreignpolicy priorities, the most noticeable progress in talks with Russia hasbeen in the realm of reducing offensive weapons, which has becomeMoscow's priority in nuclear talks.

Although Bush has also called for sharp reductions in warheads, U.S.officials have consistently said they want to avoid a new, cumbersomearms control treaty. But in response to Putin's insistence on writtencommitments, Bush said last month he would be willing to put a newagreement on paper. "We're willing to do this in written form," a seniorState Department official repeated today. "Not necessarily a treaty."

Part of that agreement would provide for means to "carry forward" thesafeguards included in the earlier arms control treaties, administrationofficials said.

"What we don't want to lose is the verification and notifications andother provisions of START I and some of the provisions of START II,"Powell said. "What we will be discussing is how to bring these featuresforward and to codify them, formalize them [in] a document in a way thatboth sides find satisfactory."

In a statement released Friday, the State Department said, "Asignificant aspect of the START Treaty's regime lies in its use ofrigorous, equitable and verifiable methods to monitor itsimplementation." These include "the right to do on-site inspections andother verification measures." The treaty also calls for "data exchangesand notifications on each side's strategic systems and facilities aswell as exchanges of telemetry data from missile flight tests."

The department released the statement to mark the Dec. 5 completion ofreductions in offensive nuclear arms required by the START I Treaty,signed 10 years ago. The United States and Russia now have cut thenumber of strategic warheads to no more than 6,000 each.
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2.
Nuclear Warhead Arsenal Trimmed: U.S., Russia Meet START I Deadline OfCuts To 6,000 Weapons Each Or Fewer
Walter Pincus
Washington Post
December 6, 2001
(for personal use only)


Hailing a "milestone in dismantling the legacy of the Cold War,"Secretary of State Colin L. Powell announced yesterday that the UnitedStates and Russia have met a deadline for reducing strategic nuclearforces to no more than 6,000 warheads on each side.

The deadline was contained in the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,or START I, which was signed by U.S. and Soviet leaders in 1991 and wentinto effect in 1994.

Powell noted that when the START negotiations began in 1983, each sidehad more than 10,000 strategic warheads deployed on land-based missiles,bombers and submarines. He added that further reductions are planned inaccordance with the Nov. 13 summit in Crawford, Tex., where PresidentBush said the United States would reduce to between 1,700 and 2,200strategic warheads over the next 10 years and Russian President VladmirPutin promised corresponding cuts.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko marked thedate with a terse statement that "Russia has completely fulfilled itscommitments under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START I."

Neither country mentioned the START II treaty signed in 1993 byPresident George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Thatpact, which called for reducing the number of warheads to between 3,000and 3,500, apparently has been set aside by the current Bushadministration in favor of deeper reductions without written agreement.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association,noted that START I permitted each side to store, rather than destroy,the warheads it removed from missile silos, bombers and submarines.Thus, he said, during the Clinton administration the United Statesaccumulated 4,500 excess warheads as a "hedge" in case quick rebuildingof the arsenal was needed.

Hans M. Kristensen, a nuclear weapons specialist and senior programofficer with the Nautilus Institute in California, noted in a recentarticle that Bush's additional warhead reductions would increase that"hedge." Before START I, he wrote, only 5 percent of the U.S. strategicstockpile was inactive. If the "hedging" practice continues, the reservecould equal or exceed the number of warheads deployed.

In a related matter, the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday votedto cut $46 million from the administration's request for the so-calledNunn-Lugar program that finances the reduction of Russian nuclear weaponsystems and helps provide security for dismantled warheads. Theadministration had sought $403 million for next year, an amount $40million below the fiscal 2001 level.
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3.
French Daily Analyzes Russia, US Relations in Aftermath of 11 September
Jan Krauze
Paris' Le Monde
December 2-3, 2001
(for personal use only)


Russia still has a few aspirations. The game is to accept those thingsthat it cannot oppose while obtaining substantial advantages.

This was undoubtedly the strangest moment in Vladimir Putin's visit toWashington. A Russian journalist got up during the ritual White Housepress conference and pointed out to George Bush that since 11 Septemberthe American administration seems to have understood the merits ofRussia's approach on matters of information. In other words, some limitsmust be placed on press freedom. Vladimir Putin seized on the occasionto give his audience a lesson in professional ethics.

Mr. Bush, seeming to have felt this was a trap, got out of it ratherwell by making a joke along the lines of: no, the American press isbeyond redemption and I gave up long ago trying to discipline it.... Allthe same, during a brief moment, there was a kind of unease. It is onething for the United States and Russia to agree on more or lesseverything in the name of the holy alliance against terrorism but it ispushing things just a little too far to try to compare the home of theNew York Times with the country where certain services, at Kremlinprompting, have diminished the independent media one by one.

The incident - or rather the impropriety - was quickly forgotten. And itdoes not change any of the essentials. Never have relations between thetwo countries appeared this excellent. The "convergence" that zealots ofd?tente used to chant in the past has now become a reality. Of course,Americans did not just start wishing yesterday to see the Russians in amore favorable light. And the Russians have been working on charming theAmericans for ages - almost fifteen years. Long before Putin, there wasGorbachev who achieved a few triumphs in tidal waves of "gorbymania" inWashington and New York. Boris Yeltsin did almost as well by taking offhis jacket, straining to make jokes and making crude attempts at somedance steps. In his own way, each one had arguments that were farstronger than Vladimir Putin now does. They were warm and mediafriendly. They broke taboos and aroused or embraced their country'srevolutionary metamorphosis. However, neither one nor the other obtainedeither from Ronald Reagan or George Bush any outpouring of friendship(on the part of the White House because the American public ishenceforth interested in other things). Bush junior put his completetrust on Putin after having looked "deep down in his soul". The decisivemoment, the one of the first inspiration goes back to the Ljubljanasummit this summer. But the warmth was not in any way diminished inWashington and at the Crawford presidential ranch. So much so that Mr.Bush asserted that on the issue of strategic arms limitations, a"handshake" was worth a great deal more than a treaty. Mr. Putin, whohad maintained a certain distance in Ljubljana, even showing through hisknowledge of the issues a discreet intellectual superiority over theAmerican president, this time piled it on in the "popular" style - goodjokes and good feelings - that are George W. Bush's strong point.

He even outdid his host on his own field when speaking to pupils at aschool in Texas.

Is the anointing of Putin's Russia based on an act of faith or on thecalculation of interests? It cannot be excluded that George Bush deeplybelieves in the "sincerity" of his interlocutor. In her latest book (abiography of Ronald Reagan), journalist Peggy Noonan tells the story thecurrent president told her about his first conversation with Putin. Mr.Bush seems to have been especially moved to learn that Mr. Putin'smother had been given a cross and it had survived a house fire. He alsolearned that Mr. Putin was very attached to the cross and thereforeprobably believed, as he does, in the existence of a "superior power".

All feelings aside, the "bet on Russia", to use the expression used byRichard Perle, a Republican theoretician, seems to be the outcome of arationale that dates for the most part from before the events of 11September. This [rationale] has the imprint of Condoleezza Rice, who isan expert on the USSR and the president's national security adviser. Thepoint of departure seems to be that a weakened Russia should not betreated as an equal as was the case with the USSR. Therefore, it is outof the question to ask its consent on decisions that are in America'sgreater interest and which will in any event be made. This applies inparticular to anti-missile defenses (and therefore to the inevitablerejection the ABM treaty over time) as well as the reduction ofstrategic weapons, which will no longer be an issue for discussion on anequal footing. Rather, this was the subject of a unilateral announcementon the part of George Bush. It is up to Vladimir Putin to fall intostep.

At the same time, in order to get Russia to swallow the pill or if weprefer to hide Russia's loss of status as a real superpower, America hasoffered it external signs of its highest consideration, a place with theEuropean Union at the top ranking of its "friends". It is also adorningits president with all the qualities.

This is an asymmetric approach where the appearances are not reallyequal to the reality of American supremacy. But Vladimir Putin's Russiahas accepted this deal, perhaps because it does not have a betteroption. It did not do so immediately and without first dragging its feeta little, especially about the ABM treaty, which it is still trying todefend a few scraps. However, when the occasion presented itself on 11September to justify the trust Mr. Bush had publicly placed on him,Vladimir jumped with both feet. He was first - at least that is what issaid in Washington - to call President Bush and he fully accepted theAmerican position on fighting terrorism as his own. Moreover, eventhough he may have been put before a fait accompli, he did not give theimpression of impeding plans for deploying American forces in formersoviet central Asia in any way. Was he at the same time taking a riskwith Russian public opinion, laying himself open to criticism ofweakness and even of aligning himself with the United States? "Russia isbeginning to understand that it has no choice other than to slide overtoward the West," reckons Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's formernational security adviser. And "Putin is playing very well with a weakhand". The game apparently consists of accepting those things that inany event cannot be blocked, while obtaining compensation that in somecases may be very substantial.

The most obvious benefit Mr. Putin obtains from the universal war onterrorism is that it allows him to put the Chechen insurgents and BinLadin in the same bag. In the meantime, he has accepted the beginningsof negotiations that we still do not know whether they are just a pureformality or not. But his obvious goodwill after 11 September could alsohelp him achieve one of the Soviet Union's and later Russia's very olddiplomatic goals: change the nature of NATO. Instead of uselesslyopposing its enlargement to include the Baltic states as he and hispredecessors have done until now, he has chosen to take the opportunitythat has been graciously offered by the allies and especially bySecretary-General George Robertson. NATO loses its teeth with Russiabeing treated as a major partner participating in the organization'sdecision making process - to the point that it exercises kind of defacto veto power. Instead it will resemble more or less what Moscow hasbeen trying to make it into for a long time: a kind of OSCE, anorganization for security in Europe.

This "bet", being made by the Russians this time, has not exactly beenwon. But there are other occasions for the Kremlin to show that it stillhas some aspirations. Moscow still knows how to surprise even if it hasbeen promoted, or rather demoted, to the rank of a friend of the UnitedStates. The sudden arrival of a Russian detachment in the very center ofKabul, while the British are patiently waiting in Bagram, the French aremoping around in Uzbekistan and the Americans are chasing Bin Ladin inthe south, confirms if need be that the Russians are not out of the"game". It [shows] that its diplomats, generals and KGB colonels werenot born yesterday and their experts perhaps know the United States justas well as Condoleezza Rice knows Russia.
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D. Russia-NATO Relations

1.
Nato Back-Pedals On New Ties With Russia
Judy Dempsey
Financial Times
December 6, 2001
(for personal use only)


Nato foreign ministers on Thursday unexpectedly back-pedalled on quicklyestablishing a new relationship with Russia after Washington stronglyobjected to giving Moscow a greater role in alliance decision-making.

The opposition from the Pentagon and the national security council cameas a surprise to Nato's ambassadors in the North Atlantic Council, orNAC.

The ambassadors had this week spent more than 27 hours trying to agreeon the wording on Russia in Thursday's final communique. It was hopedthey could explain exactly what kind of decision-making powers Russiawould have.

But the communique was watered down. It said ministers agreed to "givenew impetus and substance to our partnership, with the goal of creating,with Russia, a new Nato-Russia council, to identify and pursueopportunities for joint action at 20".

Diplomats said the wording was the best they could hope for given theintense debates over Russia in the past few days. In the end, theyexplained, Nicolas Burns, US ambassador to Nato, informed the other 18ambassadors why the alliance had to back-pedal on setting up a newNato-Russia forum.

"The administration suddenly got cold feet over Russia," said a Natodiplomat. "The Pentagon and some in the national security councilreckoned Nato was moving too fast with Moscow and that Russia might infact have the power of veto that could neutralise the alliance."

Washington's back-pedalling is a setback for President George W. Bushand Colin Powell, his secretary of state. They had wanted to quicklycement a new partnership between Nato and Russia after last month'ssuccessful US-Russia summit in Crawford, Texas.

The idea was to reward Vladimir Putin, Russian president, for hisunstinting support for the administration's fight against terrorism andits war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. But senior diplomats saidWashington's volte-face was also a "slap in the face" for Tony Blair, UKprime minister and staunch supporter of Mr Putin.

Last month Mr Blair surprised Nato ambassadors with a letter calling forthe alliance to set up a new Russia-North Atlantic Council. It wouldconsist of all the 19 ambassadors and the Russian ambassador. The ideawas that the R-NAC, as it was called by Mr Blair, would give Russia asay in certain decisions, such as joint exercises, non-proliferation andtackling terrorism.

Indeed, these issues were raised when Lord Robertson, Natosecretary-general, visited Moscow last month where he met Mr Putin,Sergei Ivanov, Russian defence minister, and Igor Ivanov, Russianforeign minister who visits Nato on Friday.

Mr Blair even suggested that Thursday's meeting of foreign ministers anda meeting of defence ministers later this month could finalise thedetails. The plan was that the Permanent Joint Council, set up in 1997as a forum consisting of the 19 Nato ambassadors plus the Russianambassador, would be substantially upgraded.
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2.
Putin Plays Waiting Game With Uncertain Nato Alliance
Judy Dempsey
Financial Times
December 4, 2001
(for personal use only)


Since the September 11 attacks on the US, Nato has been courting Russia,but has been unsure about its goal. Not surprisingly, ahead ofThursday's meeting of Nato foreign ministers the alliance is desperatelytrying to make sense of its new policy towards Moscow.

Tony Blair, UK prime minister, who launched the initiative for a newNato-Russia relationship, believes speed is of the essence. In a letterto Nato last month he insisted Mr Putin be quickly rewarded forsupporting Washington's fight against terrorism.

If that meant the 19 Nato ambassadors and the Russian ambassador couldsit together on equal terms to take certain decisions, it could be worthtrying, some Nato diplomats said. Mr Blair said the new Russian-NorthAtlantic Council (R-NAC) could decide on such issues asnon-proliferation, joint exercises and exchanging information withoutundermining the alliance.

Germany, Italy and Canada have also presented their own ideas aboutimproving Nato-Russiaco-operation. But the more the issue is discussed, the more Natorealises it has opened a Pandora's Box - as it discovered at thisMonday's meeting of its political committee. "Putin has played his cardsvery well," said a Nato ambassador. "Having courted him, we have todeliver something that will reward him but will not make us weaker as amilitary alliance."

Nato is divided over how to reconcile these two objectives.

But Russia's foreign ministry and defence establishment, as well aspublic opinion, remain suspicious of Nato and Mr Putin's support for theBush administration.

To allay such suspicions, Germany suggested: "Putin would gain supportat domestic level if he could come up with successes that would have tobe recognised even by the hesitant forces in Russia." Closerco-operation with Nato, it said, "would be such a success provided thatit brings tangible benefits to the Russian side and leads to Russia'sgreater involvement in political and military decisions."

The problem is the extent of that involvement. If Russia and Nato sittogether and fail to reach anagreement, Russia could use its veto. "The old reflexes of Nato wouldquickly re-emerge," said adiplomat. "It would revert to the safe forum of the NAC - the 19ambassadors - without Russia."

Russia's defence and foreign ministries would be vindicated too."Putin's opponents could simply say 'we told you so'."

An additional problem arises in connection with the new east Europeanmembers of Nato and the nine candidates. Poland, the Czech Republic andHungary joined Nato precisely because they saw it as a security umbrellaagainst their old Russian foe.

The candidate countries resent the fact that as they try and pushthrough reforms in their own defence ministries and strengthen the ruleof law as a precondition for joining, Russia could be given a new statuswithout meeting any of these preconditions. Baltic diplomats complainthat Russia could even use its new power to try and block a furtherenlargement of Nato.

Indeed, a recent article in Izvestia, the Russian daily newspaper,suggested Nato should not go ahead with enlargement since new entrantswould boost anti-Russian sentiment.

"We are pulled from all sides," said another Nato ambassador. "If werush the new co-operation we could make mistakes. If we delayco-operation we could miss an opportunity to create a more stable Europewith Russia. No wonder Putin can wait. He has put the ball in Nato'scourt. We will not return it tomorrow. We are far from ready."
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E. Announcements

1.
Meeting Between Russian Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs Georgy
Mamedov And US Under Secretary Of State John Bolton, December 6, 2001
(for personal use only)


On December 6, as directed by their leaderships, Russian Deputy Ministerof Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov and US Under Secretary of State JohnBolton held a regular meeting in Moscow for the preparation of adiscussion of the interconnected issues of START and ABM during anupcoming visit of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to Moscow onDecember 9-10, 2001.

The Russian side in the course of this talk yet again noted, inter alia,the negative consequences for international stability should the USdecide after all to unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty of 1972,supported by the absolute majority of the countries of the world. Thisis especially dangerous in today's complicated international situation.Russia's willingness to adhere to the understandings reached in thecourse of the recent Russian-American summit in the United States on theparallel continuation of ABM Treaty consultations and drawing up of anew agreement on further drastic irreversible and controlled reductionsin the nuclear arsenals of the two countries was reaffirmed.

Mamedov and Bolton also examined a number of other topical questions ofstrategic stability, international disarmament and nonproliferation.
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2.
Statement By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On The Achievement OfThe Final Reductions Under The START Treaty
December 5, 2001
(for personal use only)


Today we mark an important milestone in dismantling the legacy of theCold War. For the past seven years, under the terms of the StrategicArms Reduction Treaty (START), the United States and the RussianFederation have been reducing their strategic nuclear arsenals, whileall strategic weapons on the territories of Ukraine, Belarus, andKazakhstan have been removed or eliminated. The Treaty's final ceilingscame into effect today, and they have been met.

When President Reagan launched the START negotiations in 1983, theUnited States and the USSR each had more than 10,000 deployed strategicwarheads. Today, all the former Soviet States except the RussianFederation are free of nuclear weapons, and the U.S. and Russia have cuttheir arsenals nearly in half to a level of 6,000 deployed warheadseach.

We are now in a different era. The Soviet Union is gone and the U.S.and Russia are no longer adversaries. As we cooperate in building thisnew strategic relationship and as we move beyond the Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty, we will make further reductions in strategic nuclearforces. At his summit with President Putin last month, President Bushannounced plans for much deeper cuts over the next decade in America'soperationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads, and President Putinsaid he would reciprocate. Construction of a broader strategic frameworkfor cooperation with Russia is well along, and START's effectiveverification procedures remain in operation and will providetransparency and confidence as we carry out these newly pledgedreductions.
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F. Links of Interest

1.
The START I Milestone: What Does It Mean To The United States?
Jon Wolfsthal
December 7, 2001
http://www.ceip.org/files/nonprolif/templates/article.asp?NewsID=1886


2.
Secrecy And Dependence: The UK Trident System In The 21st Century
Nicola Butler and Mark Bromley
Research Report 2001.3
November 2001
http://www.basicint.org/nuk_trident01_part1.htm


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only.Views presented in any given article are those of the individual authoror source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for thetechnical accuracy of information contained in any article presented inNuclear News.



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