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Yahoo news at 8/25/6


Israel adds 2 nuclear-capable submarines

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer, 8/25/6


JERUSALEM - With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military experts say  Israel is sending a clear message to Iran  that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons.  The purchases come at a time when Iran is refusing to bow to growing Western demands to halt its nuclear program, and after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported.  The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst.  Israel is already believed to have that ability in the form of the Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which are buried so far underground they would survive a nuclear strike, he said.  "The Iranians would be very foolish if they attacked Israel," Beaver said. 

German officials have said the contract for the new submarines was signed July 6, and the Jerusalem Post reported this week the subs will be operational shortly.  Israel, operating on a policy of nuclear ambiguity, has never confirmed or denied whether it has nuclear weapons. It is believed, however, to have the world's sixth-largest stockpile of atomic arms, including hundreds of warheads.

Iran so far has resisted calls by the U.N. Security Council to halt uranium enrichment, which can produce, among other things, the material for atomic bombs. The council set an Aug. 31 deadline that is accompanied by the threat of sanctions.

The dispute over Tehran's nuclear program revolves around Iran's insistence it wants to master the technology simply to generate electricity. Critics say Iran wants to make nuclear weapons.

The Dolphin submarine could be one of the best deterrents, Beaver said. The technology on the subs makes them undetectable and gives them defensive capabilities in the case of attack, he said.  "They are very well-built, very well-prepared, lots of interesting equipment, one of the best conventional submarines available," Beaver said. "We are talking about a third string of deterrence capabilities."Michael Karpin, an expert on Israel's atomic weapons capabilities who published a book on the issue in the United States, said nuclear-armed submarines provide better second-strike capabilities than missiles launched from airplanes.  "Planes are vulnerable, unlike nuclear (armed) submarines that can operate for an almost unlimited amount of time without being struck," Karpin said. "Second-strike capabilities are a crucial element in any nuclear conflict."

In Germany, members of two opposition parties criticized the deal. Winfried Nachtwei, national security spokesman for the Greens, said the decision was wrong because Germany had obtained no guarantee the submarines would not be used to carry nuclear weapons.  "This red line should not be crossed," Nachtwei was quoted as saying by the newspaper Taz. "Otherwise it is a complete renunciation of Germany's policy of non-proliferation."  David Menashri, an Israeli expert on Iran, said Tehran is clearly determined to obtain nuclear weapons and "the purchase of additional Dolphin submarines by Israel is a small footnote in this context."

What also makes Tehran dangerous, Beaver said, is that it may not understand the consequences of carrying out a nuclear strike.  "They (Iran) have a belligerent leadership and that's why Israel is prudent in ensuring that it has that deterrent capability," Beaver said. "What they (the submarines) are is a very good insurance policy."


Notice the anti-Arab slant.  Given the murderous bombing of Lebanon and Israel’s long history of aggression, always treated as a response in the U.S. press to Arab aggression, I can only conclude that when it comes to the death count, Israel is the aggressor, and that nuclear weapons are more likely to be used first by them.--jk 



Israel and weapons of mass destruction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Israel is widely believed to possess a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to deliver them. There is also speculation that it may have chemical and biological weapons programs. Israel acceded to the Geneva Protocol on February 20, 1969..


Nuclear weapons

The Israeli government refuses to officially confirm or deny that it has a nuclear weapon program, and has an unofficial but rigidly enforced policy of deliberate ambiguity, saying only that it would not be the first to "introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East" [1]. Israel is suspected to be one of the three nuclear-armed, sovereign nation-states not to sign or ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the other two being India and Pakistan.[2]

Israel's nuclear weapons program was aided by other countries. After the Suez crisis in 1956 France agreed to help Israel build a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant near Dimona which used natural uranium moderated by heavy water. Plutonium production started in about 1964. Top secret British documents obtained by BBC Newsnight show that Britain made hundreds of secret shipments of restricted materials to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. These included specialist chemicals for reprocessing and samples of fissile material - uranium 235 in 1959 and plutonium in 1966 - as well as highly enriched Lithium 6 which is used to boost atom bombs and fuel hydrogen bombs. The investigation also showed that Britain shipped 20 tons of heavy water directly to Israel in 1959 and 1960 to start up the Dimona reactor. The transaction was made through a Norwegian front company called Noratom which took a 2% commission on the transaction. Britain was challenged about the heavy water deal at the IAEA after it was exposed on Newsnight in 2005. British Foreign Minister Kim Howells hid behind the Noratom contract and claimed this was a sale to Norway. But a former British intelligence officer who investigated the deal at the time confirmed that this was really a sale to Israel and the Noratom contract was just a charade. [3] The Foreign Office finally admitted in March 2006 that Britain knew the destination was Israel all along. [4]

In 1961 the Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion informed the Canadian Prime Minister, at that time John Diefenbaker, that a pilot plutonium separation plant would be built at Dimona. British intelligence concluded from this and other information that this "can only mean that Israel intends to produce nuclear weapons". [5]. By 1969 U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird believed that Israel might have a nuclear weapon that year [6] [7]. Later that year U.S. President Nixon in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir pressed Israel to "make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program", so maintaining a policy of nuclear ambiguity. [8]

The first public revelation of Israel's nuclear capability (as opposed to development program) came in the London-based Sunday Times on October 5, 1986, which printed information provided by Mordechai Vanunu, formerly employed at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, a facility located in the Negev desert south of Dimona. For publication of state secrets, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for treason and espionage. Although there had been much speculation prior to Vanunu's revelations that the Dimona site was creating nuclear weapons, Vanunu's information indicated that Israel had also built thermonuclear weapons.[9]

In 1998, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres said that Israel "built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima but an Oslo." [10]. ("Hiroshima" refers to the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while "Oslo" refers to the Oslo Accords). The "nuclear option" may refer to a nuclear weapon or to the nuclear reactor near Dimona, which Israel claims is used for scientific research. Peres, in his capacity as the Director General of the Ministry of Defense in the early 1950s, was responsible for building Israel's nuclear capability. [11]

According to The Nuclear Threat Initiative, based on Vanunu's information, Israel has approximately 100-200 nuclear explosive devices and a Jericho missile delivery system. A United States Defense Intelligence Agency report (leaked and published in the book "Rumsfeld's War: The Untold Story of America's Anti-Terrorist Commander" by journalist Rowan Scarborough in 2004) puts the number of weapons at 82. U.S. intelligence sources in the late 1990s estimated 75-130 [12]. The difference might lie in the amount of material Israel has on store versus assembled weapons.

Israel has operated three modern German-built Dolphin class submarines [13] since 1999. Various reports indicate that these submarines are equipped with American-made Harpoon missiles modified to carry small nuclear warheads [14] and/or the larger Israeli-made 'Popeye Turbo' cruise missiles, originally developed for air-to-ground strike capability [15].

No known nuclear weapons test has been conducted within Israel, although the boosted weapons shown in Vanunu's photographs may well have required testing. It is also possible that the Israelis received results from French nuclear testing in the 1960s. In June 1976, the West Germany Army Magazine, Wehrtechnik, claimed that a 1963 underground test took place in the Negev, and other reports indicate that some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, may have occurred on 2 November 1966. [16] In September 1979, a Vela satellite may have detected a 3 kiloton oceanic nuclear explosion near to South Africa, accompanied by underwater acoustic and ionospheric effects which may have been a joint nuclear test between Israel and South Africa (see Vela Incident).


Chemical weapons

Israel has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). There are speculations that a chemical weapons program might be located at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona. Professor Marcus Klingberg, deputy director of the institute, was sentenced in 1983 to 18 years in prison for being a Soviet spy, a matter so sensitive that it was kept secret for a decade.[17]

190 liters of dimethyl methylphosphonate, a CWC schedule 2 chemical used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas, was discovered in the cargo of El Al Flight 1862 after it crashed in 1992 en-route to Tel Aviv. Israel insisted the material was non-toxic, was to have been used to test filters that protect against chemical weapons, and that it had been clearly listed on the cargo manifest in accordance with international regulations. The shipment was from a U.S. chemical plant to the IIBR under a U.S. Department of Commerce licence. [18]

In 1993, the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation assessment recorded Israel as a country generally reported as having undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities.

Biological weapons

Israel is not a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). It is assumed that the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona develops vaccines and antidotes for chemical and biological warfare. However, some sources speculate that the IIBR also develops offensive capabilities in these fields. Professor Ernst David Bergmann started an Israeli chemical/biological warfare program in April 1948. [19]



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THE IRAQ WAR, excellent articles.


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