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Pakistani Nukes May Resurface

"There's no doubt that the CIA knew about some of Khan's activities at various stages of his proliferation," Mark Fitzpatrick told a group of journalists in Washington. "There's also no doubt that the CIA didn't give enough attention to this area of private sector proliferation in looking at Iran's nuclear development program over the years."
by Claude Salhani
UPI International Editor
Washington (UPI) May 9, 2007
The black-market nuclear network established by the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, broken up in 2004, may be dormant but could resume operations in the future, according to a just-released report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. The IISS study found no evidence to indicate that Pakistan sanctioned or encouraged the sales of nuclear technology and equipment to Iran, Libya and North Korea as a means to fund its own nuclear program.

The report by Mark Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, found that Khan ran a black-market operation beyond the reach of the Pakistani government. However, the truth behind Khan's activities is unlikely to ever be fully revealed.

"Pakistan would never allow any foreign intelligence organization to question Dr. Khan," said Fitzpatrick.

He added that the CIA had some knowledge of Khan's proliferation activities while they were in progress, yet did not pay enough attention to them. "There's no doubt that the CIA knew about some of Khan's activities at various stages of his proliferation," Fitzpatrick told a group of journalists in Washington. "There's also no doubt that the CIA didn't give enough attention to this area of private sector proliferation in looking at Iran's nuclear development program over the years."

The CIA, much like other Western intelligence services, was more focused on state-to-state activities rather than on individuals, like A.Q. Khan's network, said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, the lead author of a dossier revealing the activities of the A.Q. Khan network, stated that Khan's sales to Libya, for example, "were almost exclusively private business transactions, beyond state control."

The centrifuges that Khan's black-market operation sold to Libya were produced in Malaysia, Turkey, Europe and South Africa and shipped via Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, according to the report.

But given the control Pakistan maintains over its nuclear technology it is hard to imagine that Khan did not enjoy the protection, if not the outright support of Pakistan's intelligence services -- the ISI -- who were known to be supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan and other radical Islamist organizations, such as Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida.

However, Fitzpatrick's report identified some "gray areas." It remains questionable whether prior to Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan's government did not have knowledge of Khan's illicit activities or to what degree certain groups within the Pakistani government did not facilitate Khan's nuclear proliferation activities. Soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Washington communicated to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- in no uncertain terms -- to stop Pakistan's support of Islamist groups.

In an interview with Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, Fitzpatrick said that former Pakistani army chief Gen. Aslam Beg "encouraged" the Khan network's sales to other countries.

"Ego, money, nationalism and a sense of Islamic fraternity" motivated Khan and his supporters to sell nuclear technology to other Muslim countries, he said. "Different motivations in different cases."

Fitzpatrick said in his report that he did not think Pakistan sold its nuclear technology in order to raise money for its nuclear program.

Additionally, Fitzpatrick also found no link between Khan's network of nuclear proliferators and the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon just outside Washington.

Although Khan was removed from Pakistan's nuclear program in January 2004 and placed under house arrest by President Musharraf, he remains a very popular and revered figure in Pakistan. However, despite an official pardon from Musharraf, Khan remains under house arrest.

Following Khan's arrest, Washington declared that the network had been shut down. But according to Fitzpatrick's report published by the IISS, it is believed that some of Khan's associates have escaped law-enforcement attention and "may resume their black-market business."

According to Fitzpatrick, Khan established a procurement network to keep Pakistan's nuclear program operational. Fitzpatrick said the Khan network was made up of about 50 members that included operators from Dubai, Turkey, Malaysia, Switzerland and Germany, as well as from Pakistan.

Given the strong demand for nuclear technology by governments as well as from terrorist groups, the possibility of Khan reactivating his black-market network remains a distinct possibility.

Source: United Press International

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Kuwait reviews readiness for possible US-Iran war
Kuwait City (AFP) May 9, 2007
Kuwait's government on Wednesday briefed MPs on contingency plans to face a possible outbreak of Iran-US hostilities over Tehran's nuclear programme, a senior minister and lawmakers said. A government emergency team briefed parliament's foreign relations committee on the possibility of Kuwait being attacked or targeted by terrorists if Washington strikes Iran, committee chairman Mohammed al-Sager told reporters.

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