Delhi thinks Pak N-sites in radical hands - India Times from DEBKA
DEBKA-Net-Weekly Exclusive Report
May 16, 2009, 1:57 PM (GMT+02:00)
The important Times of India quotes DEBKA-Net-Weekly's exclusive report of Friday, May 15, which revealed that Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh had warned US president Barack Obama that Pakistan's nuclear sites in North West Frontier Province areas that are Taliban-al Qaeda strongholds are already partly in the hands of Islamic extremists. He told Obama: "Pakistan is lost."
DEBKA listed the locations of those nuclear sites and illustrated them with a special map. Singh's Congress Party has meanwhile won a second term in India's general election, according to exit polls Saturday, May 16.
The Times of India goes on to cite visiting US scholar Robert Windrem as commenting: "It is quite disturbing that the administration is allowing Pakistan to quantitatively and qualitatively step up production of fissile material without as much so a public reproach."
US officials have repeatedly maintained their confidence that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal will not fall into the hands of Islamic extremists and have Islamabad's assurance to this effect. Scholars like Windrem fear this confidence is misplaced because Pakistan's nuclear program "may already be infected with the virus of radicalism from within…"
DEBKAfile - We start where the media stop
Washington threatens to evacuate three US bases over Qatar's pro-Iran policy
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
May 16, 2009, 1:56 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iran's PressTV agency reran DEBKAfile's exclusive Saturday, May 16: "Washington has secretly warned Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani that he would lose support of US troops based in the country, if Doha insists on getting close to Tehran officials, DEBKAfile reported."
Friday, DEBKAfile's Washington, Gulf and military sources reported exclusively that the Obama administration, using backdoor intelligence channels, had secretly warned Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani that he risks losing the three big American bases located in the emirate if he persists in promoting Iran's radicalizing influence over Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
Our sources comment: An American military withdrawal from the emirate, especially the big Al Odeid air base and Central Command headquarters, would be a crushing blow to Al Thani. It would leave Qatar and the rest of the Gulf unprotected in any military conflagration in the region over Iran's nuclear program.
The threat was underlined by Qatar's boycott by US presidential envoys defense secretary Robert Gates and Dennis Ross when they travelled through the Gulf region in the first month of May.
It alarmed Emir al Thani enough for him to takes steps, one of which was to direct the news editors of al Jazeera TV station, which he owns, to tone down the anti-American line of its English and Arabic language broadcasts.
Our Washington sources report that the Obama administration is determined to strip Tehran of its regional support and so weakening its bargaining position in their forthcoming diplomatic talks.
DEBKAfile - We start where the media stop
CIA chief visits Israel, mixed Washington assessments on Iran
DEBKAfile Special Report
May 14, 2009, 1:49 PM (GMT+02:00)
Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta visited Israel two weeks ago to explore Israel's intentions with regard to a raid on Iran's nuclear facilities and its alignment with Egypt and Saudi Arabia for this shared objective.
On the one hand, Panetta showed Israeli leaders with a new US report which estimates first, that Iran lacks adequate military resources to shield its nuclear sites from attack and, second, would pull its punches in responding to an Israeli strike. On the other, it is feared in Washington that by linking up with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Israel would be free to send its warplanes against Iran through the skies of its two Arab partners, without deferring to the United States.
(This potential partnership was first disclosed in detail by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 395 of May 8).
This report was also presented by defense secretary Robert Gates on May 5-6 to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo and Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh.
None of the three Middle East leaders took the report seriously because -
1. They could not make out if it was meant to encourage or deter an Israeli attack? Surely, the best time to strike would be before Iran acquires adequate defenses for its nuclear sites. Is that what the Obama administration is after?
2. Israel does not believe that Iran would emulate Iraq's Saddam Hussein who refrained from hitting back after Israel demolished his nuclear reactor in 1981. Iran's rulers are committed to massive retaliation or else face a degree of popular contempt that would test the regime's survival.
Panetta and Gates alike returned home convinced that Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf emirates are far more fearful of a nuclear-armed Iran than of clashing with the Obama administration over its policy of engaging Iran.
This understanding prompted a policy review in Washington, which is still going on.
One outward symptom of a possible reversal was the sudden announcement on May 8 that President Obama had decided to again address the Muslim world from Egypt on June 4, ten days after Mubarak visits Washington. On the same day, he also renewed sanctions against Syria, which, after weeks of diplomatic pursuit, he accused of sponsoring terror and seeking weapons of mass destruction.
Washington's dawning appreciation that the rise of a nuclear-armed, terror-sponsoring Iran is the burning preoccupation of Middle East rulers, leaving the Palestinian issue for another day, will certainly make Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's talks in the White House next Monday, May 18, a lot smoother. The clash which otherwise would have been unavoidable may now be averted.
6 May 2009, 1126 hrs IST, IANS
WASHINGTON: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has claimed that his country's nuclear weapons are safe, rejecting US concerns that some of these weapons are at risk of being acquired by members of the Taliban.
"They are in safe hands," Zardari said in an interview on Tuesday.
The comments come two days after the New York Times reported senior American officials are increasingly worried Taliban militants could acquire unsecured weapons in Pakistan's arsenal.
Zardari said the region is not at risk of falling into the Taliban's control. "We have a 700,000 (man) army. How could they take over?" he said.
Zardari also brushed aside US concerns that Taliban sympathisers within Pakistan's army could help the terrorist organisation acquire some of the country's nuclear weapons.
"There aren't any, sir, sympathisers for them," he said. "There is a mindset in the local area maybe who feel they are akin to the same religion, God, etc, etc. But nothing that should concern anybody as far as the nuclear arsenal or other instruments of such sort."
Zardari also reacted to the New York Times' report that Pakistani officials have repeatedly denied American requests for more information on the location of the country's nuclear weapons.
"I think it's on a need-to-know basis information," he said of the weapons' location. "If it comes up we might and I might not share it with them, it depends."