Sunday, February 17, 2013

Not the elephant in the room, the WMDs in the room

""With stocks of fissile material sufficient for an arsenal of up to 200 nuclear warheads, Israel may have the largest stockpile among the nuclear-armed states, while both India and Pakistan each have around 100 warheads."

"Israel's interest in becoming a nuclear-armed state can be traced back to the 1950s, when it turned to Norway and France for nuclear technology and infrastructure (Cohen, 1999). The Dimona reactor, moderated by Norwegian heavy water (Bergen, forthcoming), and constructed with significant French assistance, was the source of the plutonium used in Israel's two or three deliverable nuclear devices assembled before the June 1967 Six-Day War."

"Israel has always refused to acknowledge its possession of nuclear weapons; this opacity, known in Hebrew as amimut, has severely limited international understanding of the country's nuclear development (Cohen, 2010). But opacity has not prevented Israel from drawing upon outside assistance in the form of German-built Dolphin-class submarines (Bergman et al., 2012) and (likely) South African nuclear test support, for example."

"The country's nuclear testing record is among the most mysterious aspects of its nuclear program. In September 1979, a US Vela early-warning satellite detected what was almost certainly a nuclear detonation over the southern Indian Ocean near South Africa's Prince Edward Islands. Based upon data from the satellite, as well as radiological data collected from the thyroids of slaughtered Australian sheep, many experts believe that Israel and South Africa collaborated on a clandestine test and, in fact, tested a nuclear device (Cohen, 2012; Polakow-Suransky, 2010; Weiss, 2012).""