Attack on Pakistani Air Base Sparks Nuclear Concerns
August 16, 2012 | Edited by Benjamin Loehrke and Leah Fae Cochran
You think Iran is scary? Read this. - Heavily-armed Pakistani militants attacked Pakistan’s Minhas air force base where 100 nuclear warheads are thought to be stored. Luckily, the assault was stopped after a two-hour battle with soldiers, which killed eight of the attackers, one security guard, and injured the base commander.
--This is the fourth time since 2007 that militants have attacked the air base. The New York Times has the story. http://nyti.ms/N5WKKs
Intelligently viewing intelligence - For all the intelligence the U.S. has on Iran’s nuclear program, the public discourse on that intel is somewhere between misinformed and dumb. “Injecting a little realism into this discussions depends, first and foremost, on understanding what the intelligence estimates do, and do not, say,” writes Jeffrey Lewis in a detailed post on recent intelligence estimates.
--Lewis notes that the key point of the often mischaracterized 2007 NIE on Iran was actually that Iran had a covert weapons program but put it on pause in 2003, showing that Iran’s decision could be influenced by pressure. In the years since, the focus of the intelligence community has been to figure out if Iran’s supreme leader has made a decision to unpause that work and push for a bomb. The intel community continues to assess that no such decision has been made. Foreign Policy has the story. http://bit.ly/N1Oot8
Diplomacy - After directing a nonpartisan strategy group of academics, journalists, and former government officials, Amb. Nicholas Burns concluded that there is, in fact, a bipartisan consensus to avoid another Middle Eastern war.
--”In the decade after 9/11, we reflexively turned to the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn’t we now restore diplomacy as our first responder to face our greatest international challenges? There is no guarantee that diplomacy will work. But before we launch a third Middle East war, we would be well advised to consider first how we might defeat the Iranian leadership by other means — at the negotiating table,” writes Burns in The Boston Globe. http://b.globe.com/MA2aBV
Crying wolf or not?- David Rothkopf warns Americans to not get complacent about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, after all, he writes, “it is worth remembering that the punch line of the story about the little boy who cried wolf is that ultimately, the wolf shows up.” Rothkopf highlights the reasons he thinks an attack on Iran is growing more “compelling” for Israel in Foreign Policy. http://bit.ly/QChYjP
Quote - “We frequently talk pseudo-scientifically about the likelihood of a one to two year delay in Iran’s program after such a strike. I believe the range is more like 6 months to 3 or 4 years...”
--”All this means that there’s greater uncertainty in the outcome of an Israeli or U.S. air campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities than frequently appreciated, whether it is carried out quickly or over a period of days or even weeks,” writes Michael O’Hanlon in an analysis of an air campaign against Iran. Full post at CNN. http://bit.ly/Q37MQV
Japan’s Aegis upgrade - Japan is moving upgrade two more guided missile cruisers to be compatible with the U.S. Aegis missile defense system and the SM-3 interceptor. Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/RZUsmB
Names - The Pentagon has named Evelyn Farkas as the new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy has the story. http://bit.ly/N2G9gw
Taking stock - The IAEA recently found a discrepancy in Iran’s uranium accounting showing that there was 19.8 kg less than Iran’s own count. In its upcoming quarterly report on Iran, the IAEA may reduce the amount of the discrepancy. Reuters has the story. http://reut.rs/RjfFsD
Richie Enrichment - URENCO, a European uranium enrichment consortium, might be setting its sights on an emerging market: children. URENCO launched a video game called Richie Enrichment’s “World of Adventure” to “help young minds learn about nuclear power, while having fun,” says the press release. http://bit.ly/QEKrFU
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