Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

A Positive Take on the Evans-Kawaguchi Nuclear Threat Report

Posted by K.E. White on January 16, 2010

Last month “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers”—a joint Australian-Japanese project—was released. While much reaction has been critical, Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren writes this positive editorial:

It is no longer possible to dismiss as negligible the possibility that a fanatical organization will get nuclear arms, materials or know-how from one of its patrons, take advantage of a gap in security and carry out a mass suicide attack. This could happen on a plane, a ship anchored in an American port with a missile launched from the sea, or a truck racing in from Mexico to the American side of the border in California or Arizona. It could also happen if an American who has converted to Islam or is the son of immigrants (like Maj. Hasan) does what Timothy McVeigh did with different motives when he blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, but this with a nuclear weapon.

To deal with nuclear terror it will be necessary to deal with states that sponsor it. To do so, it will be necessary to update the proliferation regime worldwide. Israel will also have to be included in this. Though this is an apocalyptic vision, there is scope for immediate action.

In April Obama will host an international nuclear security summit. It is not clear who will represent Israel there. If the representative is at the very highest level, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also chairs the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and not the commission’s director general, he will have to defend Israel’s position and not merely recycle the demands concerning Iran.

In May, shortly after Obama’s summit, a committee will meet – as it does every five years – to review the state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime. Israel is not a signatory to this treaty and is therefore not subject to the regime, but there is significance for Israel in the conjunction of the nuclear meetings and what happens in advance of them.

Last month the report “Eliminating Nuclear Threats: A Practical Agenda for Global Policymakers” was published by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Heading the commission were former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans and former Japanese foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi. Also on the committee were 13 statesman and experts, among them former American defense secretary William Perry, retired German chief of staff General Klaus Naumann (a good friend of Israel who served as head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Military Committee) and Turki Al Faisal, who headed Saudi intelligence for a quarter of a century. This group of people is privy to many secrets and have access to all the latest information…
The report treats it as fact that Israel is a country in possession of nuclear weapons outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty with an estimated 60 to 200 weapons, some of which are positioned. It mentions a very common assumption that Israel has ceased to produce fissile material but will not explicitly relinquish this route before there is a significant improvement in its security environment. The report recommends applying pressure on Israel – as well as India and Pakistan – to do so.

Evans, Kawaguchi and their partners are aiming at a practical solution. They write: “Recognizing the reality that the three nuclear-armed states now outside the NPT – India, Pakistan and Israel – are not likely to become members any time soon, every effort should be made to achieve their participation in parallel instruments and arrangements which apply equivalent non-proliferation and disarmament obligations.”

The most creative idea in the report is this establishment of a parallel structure, the meaning of which is recognition of the atom’s settlement blocs – a next-generation NPT…

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