North Korean nukes unlikely to reach US
Bradley K. Martin, Global Post – October 13, 2012
The North may or may not have achieved the range of which it boasted. After a failed satellite launch in April — which showed weaknesses in technology that is also used in ballistic missiles — some considered the claim a “rhetorical bluff.” That’s the way Scott Snyder, who directs the Program on US-Korea Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, put it in a blog posting. A different view came from Bruce Bechtol, Korea political-military specialist at Angelo State University in Texas. In an email he described an untested new North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile system, displayed in an April military parade. “If – if – it was successful,” he said, “it could reach the USA mainland.”
Iran says drone showcases its ‘great capabilities’
Zahra Hosseinian, Reuters – October 14, 2012
Iran said on Sunday the launch of a drone aircraft into Israel by Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was a sign of the Islamic Republic’s military capabilities. Hezbollah claimed responsibility on Thursday for the launch of the drone aircraft which Israel shot down last weekend after flying 25 miles (55 km) into the Jewish state, saying the drone’s parts were manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
Iran says it will cut imports of nonessential goods
Yeganeh Torbati, Washington Post – October 14, 2012
Iran said it would seek to cut imports of nonessential goods and urged its citizens to reduce their use of foreign-made cellphones and cars, as the country struggles to cope with Western economic sanctions. The policies suggest the government is moving the economy to an austerity footing to withstand the sanctions, which have been imposed because of Iran’s controversial nuclear program and have slashed its income from oil exports this year.
EU bans imports of natural gas from Iran
AP – October 15, 2012
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says the EU is banning the import of Iranian natural gas into European Union countries, trying to increase pressure on Iran to cooperate in talks regarding its nuclear program. Westerwelle also indicated that other sanctions on Iran are being considered by EU foreign ministers as they meet Monday in Luxembourg.
Iran Says Ready for Nuclear Flexibility
Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press – October 13, 2012
Iran is ready to show flexibility at nuclear talks to ease Western concerns over its contentious nuclear program, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday, as tensions rise in the standoff between the Islamic Republic, Israel and the West. The remarks by Ramin Mehmanparast, published by the official IRNA news agency, underscore Tehran’s push to resume talks with world powers as Western sanctions squeeze the economy tighter and the European Union weighs a boycott of Iranian natural gas.
Memo to the Presidential Candidates: Cut the Warfare State, Not the Welfare State
David Coates, Huffington Post – October 15, 2012
We face the prospect after November, that is, of a Romney-initiated arms race, one entirely driven by a Republican misreading of the state of our contemporary military condition and our foreign policy stance. Republicans see “a failed national security strategy” under Obama: one that must be replaced, if America is to be safe again, by bolder American leadership abroad and more military spending at home. That reading of our needs could not be more mistaken: for at least the following reasons.
Few good options to secure Syria chemical arsenal
Karin Laub, Businessweek – October 13, 2012
President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime is believed to have one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world. Fears have risen that a cornered Assad might use them or that they could fall into the hands of extremists, whether the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, an Assad ally, or al-Qaida-inspired militants among the rebels. For now, the main storage and production sites are considered secure. However, some suggest the civil war poses one of the gravest risks of losing control over non-conventional weapons since the breakup of the Soviet Union two decades ago.
Is global nuclear disarmament possible?
Rachel Staley, Women’s News Network – October 15, 2012
Incremental approaches to reducing nuclear numbers have been attempted, but they are undermined by their unfairness to states with smaller nuclear stockpiles and by the fact that some states have yet to agree, even in principle, that a world without nuclear weapons is more appealing than one with them. In such an environment, and with the technical complexity of nuclear issues, the intricacy of the political relationships involved, serious deficits of transparency, accountability and trust, and the growing number of proliferation threats, nuclear abolition seems to many, not only impossible but even undesirable.
Thousands of UK troops to quit Afghanistan in ’13
Mohammed Abbas, Reuters – October 15, 2012
Britain plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan next year, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday, as pressure mounts to end British involvement in the costly and unpopular war. More than 430 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001, yet stability remains elusive and violence high, while relations between Western troops and Afghan forces and civilians are increasingly frayed.