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Seems like Mian Musharraf and his motley crew of ex-militia, mercenaries and atomic energy doctors is in trouble. An investigation by The New York Times over the last couple of months (conducted in the USA, Europe and Pakistan) implies that questions are being raised about Iran's purchase of nuclear centrifuge designs from Pakistan 16 years ago. There also seems to be an emerging pattern where clandestine sales by Pakistani nuclear engineers have happened over the last decade and a half. There were shipments in the late 90s to North Korea. Libya's decision last week to dismantle its nuclear/unconventional weapons infrastructure is also under scrutiny because the centrifuge systems they had shown the US and UK intelligence agencies were quite sophisticated. The centrifuges are mainly used to enrich uranium to make bomb fuel. European diplomats also indicated that the Libyan program had similarities with the Iranian issue and a pattern of technology leakage from Pakistan to Iran also emerged. The CIA though has conveniently kept mum as of now.
The NY Times editorial questions Musharraf's claims that no such sales have taken place since he came to power. It argues that the US government should demand stricter control over the Pakistani nuclear labs (such as KRL supplies to which were banned by the US last year). It wants the US government to pressurize Musharraf into restoring democracy. It rightly argues that betting American security on one man in a troubled country of 150 million is risky. It would be far wiser to hold Musharraf to all his promises, on nuclear exports, terrorist infiltration and restoring democracy.
Conveniently though, the Pakistani establishment has chosen to wash its hands off the issue, claiming that the scientists who leaked designs etc. to rogue states did it for their own material gains and that the government, intelligence agencies or the military (is there a difference between the three as far as Pakistan is concerned?) were not in knowledge of these security breaches.
Another NY Times editorial talks about the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty and argues for additional inducements and penalties to ensure that it isnt misused by rogue states.
Recently declassified documents from the National Security Archive indicate that in 1984, the Reagan administration sent Donald Rumsfeld as a special envoy to Saddam Hussein to convince the Iraqis that the US was eager to improve ties even though they knew he had used chemical weapons on Kurds and Iran. His missive was to convince them that the USA's condemnation of Iraq's chemical weapons was just a facade and that the priority was to prevent Iran from winning the war with Iraq.
Guess who's shaking!
In stark contrast now, the current Secretary of Defense, the same Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration using Iraq's usage of chemical/biological weapons as a main reason for waging war on Iraq.
The Digital National Security Archive gives more details.
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