Nuclear Fist-Shaking in S. Asia and Mid East
DEBKAfile Special Political-Military Analysis
15 June, 2002
The next day, June 13, the foreign ministry in Baghdad was busy again. A note was sent off to the UN secretary accusing the United States of being on the point of a nuclear attack on Iraq. Israel was charged merely with possession of nuclear weapons – not the intention to use them, although the Baghdad message pointed out that Israel had bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor exactly 19 years ago.
The implication is clear: The Israeli space satellite was placed in orbit in advance of the projected American attack on Iraq. It was there also to service the Turkish armed forces taking part in that assault, as well as assisting India in its coming conflict with Pakistan.
Another vital piece in this menacing mosaic appeared first
in DEBKAfile and DEBKA-Net-Weeklyas early as September 7, 2001,
a report that Israel had been commissioned by India to set up an electronic
fence in Kashmir with six main electronic early warning stations based
on the Israeli-made Green Pine radar system.
A strong nuclear dimension also appears unavoidable.
On Saturday, June 15, the Washington Post reported Israel had armed three diesel submarines with newly-designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
On May 11, 2001, thirteen months ago, DEBKA-Net-Weekly, Issue No. 12,revealed:
India’s nuclear collaboration plan hinges on the three Israeli
1,925-ton 800-class German-made Dolphin-class submarines, which are
armed with Israel-designed 1,500-km range Popeye Turbo cruise missiles
capable of carrying nuclear warheads. This flotilla is sought as a second
strike capability for the Indian air force and naval units present in
the Arabian Sea opposite Pakistan. Israel maintains one or sometimes
two of those submarines permanently in Persian Gulf waters as a sea-launched
deterrent force – its second-tier, first strike capability, against
Iran and Iraq.
This month, on June 7, 2002, DEBKA-Net-Weeklyagain reported that Israeli Dolphin-class submarines, like other naval and air units, were permanently using the big air and naval base on Eritrea’s Red Sea Dahlak Archipelago, near the confluence of the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
All of a sudden, for some weeks now, the United States, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and Iraq have become exceptionally outspoken about war preparations. With uncharacteristic openness, they have burst into speech on the use of use of nuclear weapons.
The announcement in Washington on Friday, June 14, of the expulsion of the first secretary at the Iraqi UN mission, Abdul Rahman Saad, for espionage, was another element in the rhetorical escalation. All in all, the war of words sounds as though it is nearing the point of spilling over into deeds.
Most governments have three possible reasons for giving publicity to the types of weaponry in the hands ofadversaries:
1. They are just about ready to make their first military move - in the case of Iran and Iraq, their military preparations would also entail a mega-terror attack, for which they need to soften up world opinion in advance.2. As a hands-off signal from the potential victim’s intelligence service to the would-be aggressor that "all is known" and reprisals are store if he goes ahead.
signs of popular unrest or military disaffection against the leadership
of the enemy’s camp are detected. Certain revelations may have the power
to whip up outright domestic opposition to the enemy government.
India and Pakistan may have crossed the point of no return in their war plans. It is now evident that the visits paid by defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week to New Delhi and Islamabad did little more than postpone the eruption for which both nuclear nations have set their faces.
In the Middle East, a military clash between Israel on one side and Syria and the Lebanese Hizballah is very much in the cards. Since Damascus and Baghdad are bound by mutual defense treaties, the Hizballah is militarily affiliated to Teheran and Damascus - and all these parties are in close military and political alliance with the Palestinians – an Israel-Syrian border confrontation could quickly light the fire of war under the entire region. The belligerents in this case would proliferate to encompass the United States, possibly Britain, as well as Israel, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the Hizballah and the Palestinians.
India and Pakistan are fully engaged in this war of words. It cannot be ruled out therefore that a Middle East war will be accompanied by a war on the subcontinent. DEBKAfile’s military experts estimate that September is the next likely date for these chain-reaction conflicts to erupt into full-scale belligerence.
The nuclear dimension of the India-Pakistan conflict is self-evident.