Barak: Nuclear talks allowing Iran to continue atomic bid ‘ridiculous’
Haaretz – May 17, 2012
Talks between Iran and world powers that will end in agreed-upon measures that would nonetheless allow Tehran to continue and pursue military aspects of its nuclear program are “ridiculous,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview on Wednesday.
U.S. Senate to consider new Iran sanctions on Thursday
Roberta Rampton, Reuters – May 16, 2012
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will ask the U.S. Senate to approve a new package of oil and economic sanctions on Thursday aimed at further pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear program, a Democratic leadership aide told Reuters.
Plans to strike Iran “ready”, says US Israel envoy
Maayan Lubell, Reuters – May 17, 2012
U.S. plans for a possible military strike on Iran are ready and the option is “fully available”, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said, days before Tehran resumes talks with world powers which suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear arms.
NKorea Nuclear Reactor Construction Progressing
Matthew Pennington, Associated Press – May 16, 2012
A U.S.-based institute said Wednesday new satellite imagery shows that North Korea has resumed building work on a reactor after months of inactivity.
Fewer nukes, more security
The Economist – May 16, 2012
Under the chairmanship of General James Cartwright, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until last year and a former head of US Strategic Command, Global Zero’s commission (which includes several other senior national security figures) describes what an America nuclear force slimmed down to 900 warheads, with only half deployed, would look like. It also argues—persuasively—that such a force, which would be less than a third smaller than the START limit (to be reached within six years) of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, would be more than adequate to preserve mutual deterrence with Russia and vastly more than is needed to deter any other nuclear-armed countries. America’s stockpile of nearly 3,000 warheads held in reserve, about 800 of them so-called tactical or non-strategic weapons, serves no useful purpose at all.
Attacks by Taliban Rise in Surge Areas
Yaroslav Trofimov, Wall Street Journal – May 16, 2012
Taliban attacks are jumping in the southern Afghan areas that were the focus of the 2010 U.S. troop surge, posing a renewed challenge to the American-led coalition that hoped to pacify the crucial region before withdrawing from the country.