February 04, 2004

Father of the Bomb

So, the father of the Pakistani nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has "confessed to sharing weapons secrets with regimes around the world." The list of countries includes Iran, Libya, and North Korea — none of whom are on the good guy list.

Evidence from Libya's program (now safely ensconced in Knoxville) and admissions by Iran to the IAEA all pointed to Pakistan, and the US reportedly put a great deal of pressure on Musharraf to find the source of the information. Dr. Khan now says that he shared the information with the full knowledge of Musharraf and the ISI (Pakistani intelligence service). That's obviously bad news (even if it's not true) because Musharraf has been as good an ally in the war on terror as anyone in the region, and he finally looked to be pushing for real peace with India (perhaps spurred on by the recent attempts on his life).

Regardless, there is obviously something seriously flawed with the current non-proliferation regime. And it appears that a serious network exists for passing around technology and materials. Hopefully Libya is an example of what hardball tactics combined with credible threats can accomplish — a first tug on a thread that unravels a great deal more. But in the mean time, the fact that Libya was much farther along in their program than we expected should make us feel even less comfortable about the mad man in Pyongyang.

Anyway, watch this space.

Posted by richard at February 4, 2004 12:51 AM

What I find fascinating is the fact that the repeated attempts on Pervez Musharraf's life continue to read as back-page material in American papers. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the front line in the "War on Terror."

Sure, more of our soldiers die doing cleanup work in Iraq, but am I the only one here who sees a disturbing power play at work here? Musharraf's regime could well be all that stands between al Qaeda sympathizers and the "Islamic Bomb."

There is a strong Islamist element in Pakistan; its party performed well in recent elections and has some regional control in the country's backwaters. And we hear all the time that the hunt for bin Laden has been complicated by the fact that some Pakistani intelligence agents aren't entirely distressed by his cause. And of course Musharraf's grip on power becomes less secure to the extent he cozies up to the Great Satan for protection.

This, to me, is an issue of prime concern. Is anybody at all talking about the possibility of an al Qaeda power play for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, or have I just watched too much 24?

Posted by: Brad A. at February 5, 2004 12:48 PM