Bits From Abroad (July 2011)

July 2011

India has test-fired a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 220 miles.

The Australian Red Cross has said

Nuclear weapons wreak incalculable humanitarian and environmental suffering, the effects of which last generations.  The fact that nuclear weapons exist means that every day we live with the very real danger that they could be used again, whether accidentally or intentionally.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed plans to invest €1 billion in future nuclear programmes.

One of Pakistan’s top nuclear experts says his country lacked the capacity to keep its nuclear weapons safe, pointing out that the weapons are guarded by personnel of the Pakistan Army which has been infiltrated for decades by radical elements.

IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIA

Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, has warned senior Nato military officials that, should Iran develop a nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia would be compelled “to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences“.   It is assumed he meant that Saudi Arabia would follow suit.

The Islamic Republic has always insisted that its nuclear programme is entirely for peaceful, civil purposes.  Now an article has appeared on a Revolutionary Guard website, which breaks the taboo by anticipating the impact of an Iranian bomb.

It says that the day after Iran’s first nuclear test would be a normal day.  The day before, probably in central deserts of Iran, where once Americans and some other Western countries wanted to bury their nuclear waste, an underground nuclear explosion would have taken place. The strength of the explosion would not so great as to cause severe damage to the region nor so weak that Iranian scientists face any problems in running their tests.
The article continues by anticipating the reaction of the world’s press.

US NEWS

The United States plans to replace several versions of its ageing B61 free-falling nuclear bomb with a single guided variant, with increased accuracy.
The Czech Republic is withdrawing from US missile defence plans out of frustration at its diminished role.  The Bush administration had proposed stationing an advanced radar there but the Obama administration has offered only an early warning centre that would gather and analyze information from satellites to detect missiles aimed at NATO territory.

A Roman Catholic Bishop in Kansas has questioned the morality of building new nuclear weapons and modernizing existing ones.  A new nuclear weapons plant is being built nearby, to replace an ageing plant that has been making nuclear parts for several decades.