New Albright and Friends Report on ME Nonproliferation (UPDATED)Posted: January 17, 2013 Filed under: Nuclear 9 Comments
There’s a new report out, co-authored by David Albright, Sandy Spector and Orde Kittrie, among others, making recommendations for how to deal with proliferation problems facing the Middle East. Here it is.
I have to say I’m most surprised here at the usually thoughtful and reasonable Sandy Spector for aligning himself with this bunch.
I think Jim Lobe’s review of this report pretty much sums it up generally.
A slightly edgier appraisal is given over at Moon of Alabama.
And an insightful review is also given by Muhammad Sahimi.
Personally, I’ll just say two things. First, in a report co-authored by a law professor – one who on other occasions has purported to provide complex international legal analysis – which recommends the threatening, and potential prosecution, of foreign military strikes against Iran to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, wouldn’t you think that there would be at least some consideration and discussion of the legality of these threats and potential strikes under international law? I certainly would. And yet there is none. What does that say to you about the law professor involved?
Second, for a report on how to address proliferation problems in the Middle East to omit entirely any critical consideration of the one proliferation problem that the nations who are actually in the Middle East overwhelmingly consider to be the most serious proliferation problem – i.e. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and refusal to sign the NPT or submit itself to meaningful IAEA inspections, as the rest of the countries in the ME are all expected to do upon pain of military attack from the West – is ridiculous, though not unexpected, and in my opinion fairly transparently speaks to the biases, double standards, and general motivations of its authors.
To quote from your ref. to Jim Lobe’s piece — I agree that the view of the Arms Control community is well represented by Greg at Arms Control Association:
““The report does not offer a realistic formula for negotiating a satisfactory agreement on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme,” said Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association(ACA) and a former top State Department analyst on proliferation issues. “It would require Iran to capitulate on virtually all fronts.”
“Some of the measures it suggests would be likely to disrupt P5+1 unity….and the maximalist requirements it cites for an agreement could convince Tehran that the U.S. objective is regime change, rather than full compliance with its obligations to the IAEA,” he noted.
“The endorsement by Albright, who is frequently cited by mainstream U.S. media as an expert on the technical aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, of the report’s policy-oriented recommendations, such as making a military attack on Iran more credible, came as a surprise to some proliferation experts, including two who participated in the roundtables but asked to remain anonymous because of the off-the-record nature of the proceedings.
“His expertise is a technical one, but this is mostly a political paper,” noted one expert. “This covers areas that go far beyond his expertise.”
BTW, I have not spoken with him yet, but I think Sandy was just providing input on the Syria part, not endorsing the Iran section.
Also, Jim Lobe makes a minor mistake when he calls Albright a physicist — Albright does not have a PhD and has never been a practicing scientist, which begs the question why ISIS has the first “S” in it.
Do any scientists work at ISIS? Do any lawyers?
I have just finished reading the report, and the same two points that you make leapt out at me.
1) This recommendation: “the president of the United States should explicitly
declare that he will use military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear program if Iran
takes additional “decisive steps toward producing a bomb.” ” is gob-smacking.
A case can always be made for a “pre-emptive strike”, but such a case needs to pass the “Caroline Test”. This recommendation fails that test dismally, which means that the report is advocating an “preventive attack”, not a “pre-emptive attack”.
Preventitve war is clearly illegal under international law (for one thing, it is expressly prohibited by Article 2(4) of the UN Charter).
You can’t attack another state merely because you don’t want then to have a weapon, and certainly now when it is a weapon that you already possess.
If that were true the Royal Navy would have been bombarding Wilhelmshaven in 1907 to maintain their monopoly on Dreadnaught battleships, or the USAF would have been attacking the USSR in 1949 to preserve its nuclear monopoly.
Report: “In each of the president’s reported statements on this topic thus far, his willingness
to use military force, if necessary, to halt Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal has
been implicit rather than explicit.”
No shit, heh? Maybe that’s because the President understands the grave implications of overtly threatening to attack another country Coz’ It Refuses To Do What It’s Told, even if Albright and his happy gang don’t have a clue.
2) Chapter 3 and its curious attitude towards Israel.
Not once does it mention that Israel refuses to sign the NPT, but is a momunental oversight.
Furthermore, it only *ever* mentions Israel’s nukes in relation to how those nukes play upon the minds of Other Countries In The Region.
Heck, if you read that chapter you’d be forgiven for thinking that Israeli nukes were, I dunno, some kinda’ natural phenomena like, say, an earthquake or a tsunami .
Bizarre. Utterly bizarre.
Chapter 2 has this Bid Ol’ Elephant lopin’ around in the corner, and all the author’s could do was sneak a few quick glances around the room and then discuss who’s showing signs of nervousness…..
Also, let’s not forget the lesson from Osirak attack — that kicked off a full-blooded nuclear weaponization program:
ATTACKS ON NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURE: OPENING PANDORA’S BOX?
By Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer
“Israel’s attack triggered a far more focused and determined Iraqi effort to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Suzanne Maloney has some advice to the President:
Peter Jenkins on the misguided ISIS report:
Really, are we taking Albright seriously now? I now the bulk of the ignorant, uninformed main stream media are. But frankly, that ship has sailed and it’s a waste of time to try to recall it.
It’s like I comment frequently over at http://www.goingtotehran.com (which used to raceforiran.com before the Leveretts new book came out). The reality is we’re preaching to a tiny percentage of the US electorate, at least seventy percent of whom, according to some polls, believe Iran already HAS nuclear weapons, let alone a “program”.
The situation as it stands is that on the one hand, it’s clear that the US, NATO and Israeli ruling elites have decided on a war with Iran, and on the other, the bulk of even the anti-war contingent in the US have decided that a war with Iran is “impossible” – or at least “unthinkable” (and therefore they don’t think about it while simultaneously decrying it.)
I can’t imagine a more perfect re-creation of the Iraq war scenario.
The only two things slowing the Iran war at this point are:
1) Israel doesn’t want the war until Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon have been degraded as effective actors in such a war. That will done in 2013 when the US and NATO attack Syria and Israel attacks Hizballah.
2) Contrary to the Kool-Aid drinkers, Obama is fully on board with an Iran war. However, Obama doesn’t want to be BLAMED for starting the Iran war. So he’s squeezing Iran as hard as possible in order to get Iran to retaliate in some way he can use to “justify” the war. Expect a US/NATO naval blockade on Iran either in late 2013 or 2014, spun as an “extension” of the unilateral sanctions regime instead of the act of war it is.
A real expert on Parchin:
you may like to see Prof. Sahimi’s take on David NotAllthatBright:
Thanks, I just read it. I think its great and added it as a link.