Is Nuclear Abolition Desirable and/or Feasible?

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpil...

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The anti-nuclear movement argues that the abolition of nuclear weapons is ultimately both desirable and possible. The movement’s recent fortunes, however, suggest a more complicated picture, as Lawrence Wittner’s profile of the movement demonstrates.

Getting to Zero — Is Nuclear Abolition Desirable and/or Feasible?.


Israel and the WMD-free zone: Has Israel closed the door? | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

English: Flag of the International Atomic Ener...

English: Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an organization of the United Nations Deutsch: Flagge der Internationalen Atomenergieorganisation (IAEO), eine Organisation der Vereinten Nationen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article Highlights

With the 2012 Middle East WMD-Free Zone Conference still on the agenda in Helsinki, speculation remains whether Israel will attend.

Shaul Chorev, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, delivered a strongly worded speech to the IAEA general conference in Vienna earlier this month, laying out what Israel is likely to accept and not accept as far as the conference is concerned.

The time might be ripe to start thinking about a more far-reaching and radical approach that would involve rethinking the entire framework for considering WMD arms control in the Middle East.

Israel and the WMD-free zone: Has Israel closed the door? | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The Logic and Risks of Capture Operations | Center for a New American Security

Bagram Air Base

Bagram Air Base (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the moment, the United States has nowhere to hold and interrogate newly captured terrorists. America just handed over control of its detention facility at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a significant step toward transferring security operations to Afghans. And while Guantánamo Bay remains home to nearly 170 men that the United States believes are still a threat, no captured terrorist has been transferred there since August 2008. Yet in the past four years, drone strikes and airstrikes targeting Al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have increased dramatically.


The Logic and Risks of Capture Operations | Center for a New American Security.

Syria’s Secular and Islamist Rebels: Who Are the Saudis and the Qataris Arming? | World |

Vast swathes of northern Syria, especially in the province of Idlib, have slipped out of the hands of President Bashar Assad, if not quite out of his reach. The area is now a de facto liberated zone, though the daily attacks by Damascus’s air force and the shelling from the handful of checkpoints and bases regime forces have fallen back to are a reminder that the rebel hold on theterritory remains fluid and fragile.

What is remarkable is that this substantial strip of ‘free” Syria has been patched together in the last 18 months by military defectors, students, tradesmen, farmers and pharmacists who have not only withstood the Syrian army’s withering fire, but in some instances repelled them using a hodgepodge of limited, light weaponry. The feat is even more amazing when one considers the disarray among the outside powers supplying arms to the loosely allied band of rebels.
Syria’s Secular and Islamist Rebels: Who Are the Saudis and the Qataris Arming? | World |

BBC News – Film protests: What explains the anger?

More than three years ago, President Barack Obama famously told a Cairo audience that “we meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world”.

His speech, titled A New Beginning, sought to transcend the acrimony of the Bush era.

This week, as violent protests rage across the Middle East and beyond, the president might ask himself: What went wrong?


BBC News – Film protests: What explains the anger?.

The Wrath of Libya’s Salafis – Sada

The tragic assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the latest in a series of attacks by the country’s increasingly active Salafis. In late August, armed Salafi groups demolished Sufi shrines, mosques, and mausoleums in Tripoli, Misrata, and Zliten.  Earlier this year, Salafis desecrated British World War II graves, attacked the Tunisian consulate over an art exhibit in Tunis they deemed offensive, bombed the offices of the International Red Cross, and detonated an improvised explosive device at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  But such attacks are hardly proof of Salafism’s growing influence over the country.  Rather, they are symptoms of an intense re-composition and fractionalization of the movement, between quietist, “politico,” and militant strands.  More importantly, they reveal the Salafis’ anguished search for relevance in a country that is already socially conservative, but that has soundly rejected dogmatic political actors in favor of technocratic ones.


The Wrath of Libya’s Salafis – Sada.

A Golden Mistake: Nuclear Bombs Cost more than Their Weight in Gold | Ploughshares Fund

B61 nuclear bombs

B61 nuclear bombs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The B61 bombs are the oldest bombs in the operational arsenal – first deployed in the 1960s. The Life Extension Program is intended to update and overhaul the warheads to keep them in the arsenal for decades to come, allowing the B61 to continue serving as the last remaining tactical nuclear warhead in the arsenal. The bombs remain deployed in Europe, despite broad recognition that they have no military utility.

Unfortunately, the life extension program (LEP) for the B-61 nuclear bomb is now projected to cost $10 billion. When we first heard that, some quipped that the bomb must be gold-plated. It’s not. That would be too cheap.

A Golden Mistake: Nuclear Bombs Cost more than Their Weight in Gold | Ploughshares Fund.