Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty – NPT’

USA: ExpertInnen enttäuscht vom Abrüstungswillen bei Atomwaffen

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

“Despite Cuts, Nukes Still Integral to U.S. Security Strategy

By Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 23, 2010 (IPS) – The new U.S. plan to maintain and improve its nuclear weapons complex is likely to hinder international efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, say independent analysts who have watched a series of U.N.-led talks on nuclear proliferation and disarmament for years.

‘So long as the U.S. continues to rely upon its nuclear arsenal for security, it is hard to make the argument that other states should refrain from following this course,’ said David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, who has attended scores of U.N.-led talks on the nuclear issue.

Krieger’s remarks came after the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a Washington-based independent organisation, released an unclassified document last week revealing the Barack Obama administration’s plan to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile by about 40 percent by the end of 2020.

Like other disarmament advocates, Krieger welcomed the planned cuts, but said he was unsure if they would help pave the way for total elimination of nuclear weapons, a task that a vast majority of U.N. member states, as well as the world body’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, want to be taken seriously.

‘I see all plans to reduce nuclear arsenals as being beneficial,’ he told IPS. ‘What I find missing, however, in the Department of Defence’s plan is a sense of urgency and a negotiated plan to go to zero.’

The new plan suggests that, despite significant reduction of the existing stockpile, the U.S. must remain in possession of at least 3,000 to 3,500 nuclear weapons after the end of the next decade. Currently, the U.S. has 5,113 declared nuclear weapons, of which about 2,700 are operational warheads.

The U.S. would not only continue to maintain and modernise its nuclear weapons complex after reduction of the existing stockpiles, it would also spend more money to do so ever than before.

According to the National Nuclear Security Administration, the annual costs for the weapons complex would increase from about seven billion dollars in fiscal year 2011 to more than eight billion dollars in 2017 and more than nine billion dollars in 2030.

The plan indicates that the nuclear establishment’s infrastructure will support ‘active, logistic spare and reserve warheads’, which will not be designed to have the ‘capacity to return to historical cold war stockpiles, or rapidly respond to large production spikes’.

Does this mean the U.S. is getting serious about fulfilling its obligations to the international community under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires all declared nuclear weapon states to take ‘significant steps’ towards the abolition of nuclear weapons?

Independent observers have their doubts.

‘[it’s] contrary to the international law requirement that the United States act in ‘good faith’ to meet the NPT Article VI obligation of negotiating for nuclear disarmament,’ said John Burroughs, president of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, about the new plan.

The Nuclear Posture Review prepared by the Obama administration contends that ‘reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons’ will demonstrate U.S. compliance with the NPT disarmament compliance obligation. But some legal experts are not convinced.

‘While welcome,’ says Burroughs, ‘such reductions do not suffice.’ In order to make his point, he cites the 1996 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, concluding that Article VI of the NPT requires states to ‘pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control.’

A U.N. General Assembly resolution welcomes the court’s decision, and calls for negotiations to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons globally as the means of meeting the NPT obligation. In recent statements, Ban has also voiced his support for this call.

In Burroughs’s view, the U.S. unilateral cuts are on an alternative path, and are encouraged by NPT obligations. But, he notes, ‘unfortunately, the Nuclear Posture Review report ties U.S. reductions to the need to avoid to the large disparities in nuclear capabilities with Russia.’

He thinks the U.S. could reduce its nuclear stockpiles to much lower levels ‘on its own’ – in the tens of low hundreds of nuclear weapons – without putting in question the option of making a nuclear response to a nuclear attack.

In 1964, Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara proposed the U.S. arsenal be sized so as to achieve the ‘assured destruction’ of the Soviet Union and argued that ‘the destruction of, say, 25 percent of its population (55 million people) and more than two-thirds of industrial capacity would mean the destruction of the Soviet Union as a national society.’

McNamara estimated that it would require about 400 nuclear weapons of the kind the U.S. then had in its arsenal to wreak this level of devastation. He calculated that ‘the proportion of the total population destroyed would be increased by only about 100 percentage points’ if the U.S. were to use 800 nuclear weapons.

‘The McNamara criterion (the death of 25 percent of the population) could be met today for Russia with only 51 modern U.S. nuclear weapons,’ Zia Mian of the Programme on Science and Global Security at Princeton University told IPS, citing a 2001 study by the Natural Resources Defence Council.

‘It would take less than 400 weapons to meet that goal for China,’ he said.

For his part, Krieger holds that a ‘commitment to zero nuclear weapons within a reasonable timeframe’ is a must by opening negotiations for a new treaty, a Nuclear Weapons Convention, ‘for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of all nuclear weapons’.

‘Within this framework, weapons reductions could be measured against the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from the arsenals of all states. In the meantime, large expenditures on maintaining and improving the nuclear arsenal would seem to point in the wrong direction and will likely lead other states to doubt U.S. sincerity in seeking a world without nuclear weapons,’ he said. “

 

(Quelle: IPS News.)

Iran’s Grüne Bewegung – ein Jahr danach

Freitag, Juni 11th, 2010

Iran’s Green Movement: One Year Later

How Israel’s Gaza Blockade and Washington’s Sanctions Policy Helped Keep the Hardliners in Power

By Juan Cole

Iran’s Green Movement is one year old this Sunday, the anniversary of its first massive demonstrations in the streets of Tehran. Greeted with great hope in much of the world, a year later it’s weaker, the country is more repressive, and its hardliners are in a far stronger position — and some of their success can be credited to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sanctions hawks in the Obama administration.

If, in the past year, those hardliners successfully faced down major challenges within Iranian society and abroad, it was only in part thanks to the regime’s skill at repression and sidestepping international pressure. Above all, the ayatollahs benefited from Israeli intransigence and American hypocrisy on nuclear disarmament in the Middle East.

Iran’s case against Israel was bolstered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued enthusiasm for the Gaza blockade, and by Tel Aviv’s recent arrogant dismissal of a conference of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories, which called on Israel to join a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Nor has President Obama’s push for stronger sanctions on Iran at the United Nations Security Council hurt them.

And then, on Memorial Day in the United States, Israel’s Likud government handed Tehran its greatest recent propaganda victory by sending its commandos against a peace flotilla in international waters and so landing its men, guns blazing, on the deck of the USS Sanctions. Yesterday’s vote at the U.N. Security Council on punishing Iran produced a weak, much watered-down resolution targeting 40 companies, which lacked the all-important imprimatur of unanimity, insofar as Turkey and Brazil voted "no" and Lebanon abstained. There was no mention of an oil or gasoline boycott, and the language of the resolution did not even seem to make the new sanctions obligatory. It was at best a pyrrhic victory for those hawks who had pressed for "crippling" sanctions, and likely to be counterproductive rather than effective in ending Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. How we got here is a long, winding, sordid tale of the triumph of macho posturing over patient and effective policymaking.

Suppressing the Green Movement

From last summer through last winter, the hardliners of the Islamic Republic of Iran were powerfully challenged by reformists, who charged that the June 12, 2009, presidential election had been marked by extensive fraud. Street protests were so large, crowds so enthusiastic, and the opposition so steadfast that it seemed as if Iran were on the brink of a significant change in its way of doing business, possibly even internationally. The opposition — the most massive since the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79 — was dubbed the Green Movement, because green is the color of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, among whom losing presidential candidate Mirhossein Moussavi is counted. Although some movement supporters were secularists, many were religious, and so disarmingly capable of deploying the religious slogans and symbols of the Islamic Republic against the regime itself.

Where the regime put emphasis on the distant Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Levant, Green Movement activists chanted (during "Jerusalem Day" last September), "Not Gaza, not Lebanon. I die only for Iran." They took their cue from candidate Moussavi, who said he "liked" Palestine but thought waving its flag in Iran excessive. Moussavi likewise rejected Obama administration insinuations that his movement’s stance on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program was indistinguishable from that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He emphasized instead that he not only did not want a nuclear weapon for Iran, but understood international concerns about such a prospect. He seemed to suggest that, were he to come to power, he would be far more cooperative with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Israeli government liked what it was hearing; Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu even went on "Meet the Press" last summer to praise the Green Movement fulsomely. "I think something very deep, very fundamental is going on," he said, "and there’s an expression of a deep desire amid the people of Iran for freedom, certainly for greater freedom."

Popular unrest only became possible thanks to a split at the top among the civilian ruling elite of clerics and fundamentalists. When presidential candidates Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and their clerical backers, including Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanaei and wily former president and billionaire entrepreneur Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, began to challenge the country’s authoritarian methods of governance, its repression of personal liberties, and the quixotic foreign policy of President Ahmadinejad (whom Moussavi accused of making Iran a global laughingstock), it opened space below.

The reformers would be opposed by Iran’s supreme theocrat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who defended the presidential election results as valid, even as he admitted to his preference for Ahmadinejad’s views. He was, in turn, supported by most senior clerics and politicians, the great merchants of the bazaar, and most significantly, the officer corps of the police, the basij(civilian militia), the regular army, and the Revolutionary Guards. Because there would be no significant splits among those armed to defend the regime, it retained an almost unbounded ability to crackdown relentlessly. In the process, the Revolutionary Guards, generally Ahmadinejad partisans, only grew in power.

A year later, it’s clear that the hardliners have won decisively through massive repression, deploying basij armed with clubs on motorcycles to curb crowds, jailing thousands of protesters, and torturing and executing some of them. The main arrow in the opposition’s quiver was flashmobs, relatively spontaneous mass urban demonstrations orchestrated through Twitter, cell phones, and Facebook. The regime gradually learned how to repress this tactic through the careful jamming of electronic media and domestic surveillance. (Apparently the Revolutionary Guards now even have a Facebook Espionage Division.) While the opposition can hope to keep itself alive as an underground civil rights movement, for the moment its chances for overt political change appear slim.

Nuclear Hypocrisy

Though few have noted this, the Green Movement actually threw a monkey wrench into President Obama’s hopes to jump-start direct negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program. His team could hardly sit down with representatives of Ayatollah Khamenei while the latter was summarily tossing protesters in filthy prisons to be mistreated and even killed. On October 1, 2009, however, with the masses no longer regularly in the streets, representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany met directly with a representative of Khamenei in Geneva.

A potentially pathbreaking nuclear agreement was hammered out whereby Iran would ship the bulk of its already-produced low-enriched uranium (LEU) to another country. In return, it would receive enriched rods with which it could run its single small medical reactor, producing isotopes for treating cancer. That reactor had been given to the Shah’s Iran in 1969, and the last consignment of nuclear fuel purchased for it, from Argentina, was running out. The agreement appealed to the West, because it would deprive Iran of a couple of tons of LEU that, at some point, could theoretically be cycled back through its centrifuges and enriched from 3.5% to over 90%, or weapons grade, for the possible construction of nuclear warheads. There is no evidence that Iran has such a capability or intention, but the Security Council members agreed that safe was better than sorry.

With Khamenei’s representative back in Iran on October 2, the Iranians suddenly announced that they would take a timeout to study it. That timeout never ended, assumedly because Khamenei had gotten a case of cold feet. Though we can only speculate, perhaps nuclear hardliners argued that holding onto the country’s stock of LEU seemed to the hardliners like a crucial form of deterrence in itself, a signal to the world that Iran could turn to bomb-making activities if a war atmosphere built.

Given that nuclear latency — the ability to launch a successful bomb-making program — has geopolitical consequences nearly as important as the actual possession of a bomb, Washington, Tel Aviv, and the major Western European powers remain eager to forestall Iran from reaching that status. As the Geneva fiasco left the impression that the Iranian regime was not ready to negotiate in good faith, the Obama team evidently decided to respond by ratcheting up sanctions on Iran at the Security Council, evidently in hopes of forcing its nuclear negotiators back to the bargaining table. Meanwhile, Netanyahu was loudly demanding the imposition of "crippling" international sanctions on Tehran.

Washington, however, faced a problem: Russian Prime Minister and éminence grise Vladimir Putin initially opposed such sanctions, as did China’s leaders. As Putin observed, "Direct dialogue… is always more productive… than a policy of threats, sanctions, and all the more so a resolution to use force." Moreover, the non-permanent members of the Council included Turkey and Brazil, rising powers and potential leaders of the non-permanent bloc at the Council. Neither country was eager to see Iran put under international boycott for, from their point of view, simply having a civilian nuclear enrichment program. (Since such a program is permitted by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, any such Security Council sanctions on Iran represent, at best, arbitrary acts.)

By mid-May, Obama nonetheless appeared to have his ducks in a row for a vote in which Russia and China would support at least modest further financial restrictions on investments connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Many observers believed that such a move, guaranteed to fall far short of "crippling," would in fact prove wholly ineffectual.

Only Turkey and Brazil, lacking veto power in the Council, were proving problematic for Washington. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey leads the Justice and Development Party, which is mildly tinged with Muslim politics (unlike most previous strongly secular governments in Ankara). Viewing himself as a bridge between the Christian West and the Muslim world, he strongly opposes new sanctions on neighboring Iran. In part, he fears they might harm the Turkish economy; in part, he has pursued a policy of developing good relations with all his country’s direct neighbors.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has led a similar charge against any strengthened punishment of Iran. He has been motivated by a desire to alter the prevailing North-dominated system of international relations and trade. Popularly known as "Lula," the president has put more emphasis on encouraging South-South relations. His country gave up its nuclear weapons aspirations in 1980, but continued a civilian nuclear energy program and has recently committed to building a nuclear-powered submarine. Having the Security Council declare even peaceful nuclear enrichment illegal could be extremely inconvenient for Brasilia.

On May 15th, Erdogan and Lula met with Ahmadinejad in Tehran and announced a nuclear deal that much resembled the one to which Iran had briefly agreed in October. Turkey would now hold a majority of Iran’s LEU in escrow in return for which Iran would receive fuel rods enriched to 19.75% for its medical reactor. Critics pointed out that Iran had, by now, produced even more LEU, which meant that the proportion of fuel being sent abroad would be less damaging to any Iranian hopes for nuclear latency and therefore far less attractive to Washington and Tel Aviv. Washington promptly dismissed the agreement, irking the Turkish and Brazilian leaders.

Meanwhile, throughout May, a conference of signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was being held in New York to hammer out a consensus document that would, in the end, declare the Middle East a "nuclear free zone." Unexpectedly, they announced success. Since Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an actual nuclear arsenal (estimated at about 200 warheads, or similar to what the British possess), and not an NPT signatory, Tel Aviv thundered: "This resolution is deeply flawed and hypocritical… It singles out Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation… Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation."

The hypocrisy in all this was visibly Washington’s and Israel’s. After all, both were demanding that a country without nuclear weapons "disarm" and the only country in the region to actually possess them be excused from the disarmament process entirely. This was, of course, their gift to Tehran. Like others involved in the process, Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency immediately noted this and riposted, "The U.S.… is obliged to go along with the world’s request, which is that Israel must join the NPT and open its installations to IAEA inspectors."

A Windfall for the Hardliners: The Flotilla Assault

With the Tehran Agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil — and signed by Ahmadinejad — and Israel’s rejection of the NPT conference document now public news, Obama’s sanctions program faced a new round of pushback from China. Then, on May 31st, Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship heading for Gaza. They threw stun grenades and fired rubber-jacketed metal bullets even before landing, enraging passengers, and leading to a fatal confrontation that left at least nine dead and some 30 wounded. An international uproarensued, putting Israel’s relations with Turkey under special strain.

The Mavi Marmara assault was more splendid news for Iran’s hardliners at the very moment when the Green movement was gearing up for demonstrations to mark the one-year anniversary of the contested presidential election. Around the Israeli assault on the aid flotilla and that country’s blockade of Gaza they were able to rally the public in solidarity with the theocratic government, long a trenchant critic of Israeli oppression of the stateless Palestinians. Green leaders, in turn, were forced to put out a statement condemning Israel, and Khamenei was then able to fill the streets of the capital with two million demonstrators commemorating the death of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.

The flotilla attack also gave the hardliners a foreign policy issue on which they could stand in solidarity with Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and the Arab world generally, reinforcing their cachet as champions of the Palestinians and bolstering the country’s regional influence. There was even talk of sending a new Gaza aid flotilla guarded by Iranian ships. Because Turkey, the aggrieved party, is at present a member of the Security Council, this fortuitous fillip for Iran has denied Obama the unanimity he sought on sanctions. Finally, the incident had the potential to push international concern over Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program and that country’s new assertiveness in the Middle East into the background, while foregrounding Israel’s brutality in Gaza, intransigence toward the peace process, and status as a nuclear outlaw.

In the end, President Obama got his watered-down, non-unanimous sanctions resolution. There is no doubt that Netanyahu’s reluctance to make a just peace with the Palestinians and his cowboy military tactics have enormously complicated Obama’s attempt to pressure Iran and deeply alienated Turkey, one of yesterday’s holdouts.

His election as prime minister in February 2009 turns out to have been the best gift the Israeli electorate could have given Iran. The Likud-led government continues its colonization of the West Bank and its blockade of the civilian population of Gaza, making the Iranian hawks who harp on injustices done to Palestinians look prescient. It refuses to join the NPT or allow U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities, making Iran, by comparison, look like a model IAEA member state.

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan and director of its Center for South Asian Studies. He maintains the blog Informed Comment. His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Copyright 2010 Juan Cole”

(Quelle: Antiwar.com.)

UN: IPPNW warnt vor weiteren Iran-Sanktionen

Mittwoch, Juni 9th, 2010

Pressemitteilung vom 9.6.2010

IPPNW zu den neuen Iran-Sanktionen des UN-Sicherheitsrates

Weitere Sanktionen eskalieren den Konflikt mit dem Iran

Mit Blick auf die heutige Abstimmung über internationale Sanktionen gegen den Iran im UN-Sicherheitsrat erklärt der Vorstand der deutschen Sektion der Internationalen Ärzte für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges (IPPNW): „Ein Wirtschaftsboykott seitens des Westens unterstützt weder die Durchsetzung von Rechtsstaatlichkeit noch dient es der Förderung der Demokratie im Iran.Nur eine Politik der Entspannung und die Distanzierung von Konfrontation werden den Menschen im Iran helfen, ihre Vorstellungen von einer gerechten Gesellschaft aktiv zu verwirklichen. Grundsätzlich unterstützt die IPPNW die Perspektive der Entwicklung regionaler Kooperation und gemeinsamer Sicherheit als Alternative zu Wettrüsten, zwischenstaatlichen Konflikten, Kriegen und Unterdrückung von Minderheiten.“

Die IPPNW fordert eindringlich, die UN-Sicherheitsratsresolution 687 aus dem Jahr 1991 umzusetzen, die u.a. das „Ziel der Schaffung einer kernwaffenfreien Zone in der Nahost-Region“ formuliert und das „Bewusstsein der Gefahr, die alle Massenvernichtungswaffen für den Frieden und die Sicherheit in dem Gebiet darstellen, und der Notwendigkeit, auf die Schaffung einer von derartigen Waffen freien Zone im Nahen Osten hinzuarbeiten“ unterstreicht. Doch, so der IPPNW-Vorstand, „solange westliche Lösungsvorschläge Israels Atomwaffen unberührt lassen, wird der Atomstreit mit dem Iran in der Region mehrheitlich als Versuch des Westens gewertet, die regionale Hegemonie für Israel zu sichern. Eine Folge ist, dass immer mehr Staaten Atomwaffen anstreben werden.“

„Der Mittlere und Nahe Osten ist aufgrund der Verquickung vielfältiger territorialer, ethnischer, religiöser und politischer Konfliktformationen mit den externen ökonomischen und geostrategischen Interessen der USA und des Westens in mehrfacher Hinsicht die konfliktträchtigste Region der Welt. Es ist alarmierend, dass die atomare Bewaffnung und Aufrüstung Israels, Indiens und Pakistans die Konflikte der Großregion anheizen. Der Griff nach Atomwaffen wird durch die im Atomwaffensperrvertrag verfestigte Ungleichheit der Verfügung von Atomwaffen ohne die in ihm geforderten nachhaltigen Schritte zu ihrer Abrüstung zu vollziehen grundsätzlich gefördert.“

Die IPPNW kritisiert grundsätzlich das Konzept der “friedlichen Nutzung der Atomenergie”, weil es die Abschaffung der Atomwaffen zwangsläufig mit einem Ausstieg aus der Atomenergie verbindet. Die IPPNW fordert hinsichtlich der Atomwaffen eine Atomwaffenkonvention. Sie verbindet ihre Forderung nach dem Ausstieg aus der Atomenergie mit der Forderung nach einer Energiewende und einer Energieversorgung zu 100% aus Erneuerbaren Energien.

Die Erklärung des Vorstandes finden Sie im Wortlaut unter:
http://www.ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Frieden/Iran_Erklaerung2010.pdf

Pressekontakt: Internationale Ärzte für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges/Ärzte in sozialer Verantwortung, Körtestr. 10, 10967 Berlin, www.ippnw.de, (Träger des Friedensnobelpreis 1985) Dr. Jens-Peter Steffen, Tel. 030 – 69 80 74 13, Email: steffen[at]ippnw.de

(Quelle: IPPNW.de.)

Israel: Die westlichen Regierungen zeigen sich feige

Mittwoch, Juni 2nd, 2010

“Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives

It is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events

Has Israel lost it? Can the Gaza War of 2008-09 (1,300 dead) and the Lebanon War of 2006 (1,006 dead) and all the other wars and now yesterday’s killings mean that the world will no longer accept Israel’s rule?

Don’t hold your breath.

You only have to read the gutless White House statement – that the Obama administration was “working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy”. Not a single word of condemnation. And that’s it. Nine dead. Just another statistic to add to the Middle East’s toll.

But it’s not.

In 1948, our politicians – the Americans and the British – staged an airlift into Berlin. A starving population (our enemies only three years before) were surrounded by a brutal army, the Russians, who had erected a fence around the city. The Berlin airlift was one of the great moments in the Cold War. Our soldiers and our airmen risked and gave their lives for these starving Germans.

Incredible, isn’t it? In those days, our politicians took decisions; our leaders took decisions to save lives. Messrs Attlee and Truman knew that Berlin was important in moral and human as well as political terms.

And today? It was people – ordinary people, Europeans, Americans, Holocaust survivors – yes, for heaven’s sake, survivors of the Nazis – who took the decision to go to Gaza because their politicians and their statesmen had failed them.

Where were our politicians yesterday? Well, we had the ridiculous Ban Ki-moon, the White House’s pathetic statement, and dear Mr Blair’s expression of “deep regret and shock at the tragic loss of life”. Where was Mr Cameron?
Where was Mr Clegg?

Back in 1948, they would have ignored the Palestinians, of course. It is, after all, a terrible irony that the Berlin airlift coincided with the destruction of Arab Palestine.

But it is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives. Why is this? Why didn’t we hear courageous words from Messrs Cameron and Clegg yesterday?

For it is a fact, is it not, that had Europeans (and yes, the Turks are Europeans, are they not?) been gunned down by any other Middle Eastern army (which the Israeli army is, is it not?) there would have been waves of outrage.

And what does this say about Israel? Isn’t Turkey a close ally of Israel? Is this what the Turks can expect? Now Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world is saying this is a massacre – and Israel doesn’t seem to care.

Video: Gaza aid ships violence condemned
But then Israel didn’t care when London and Canberra expelled Israeli diplomats after British and Australian passports were forged and then provided to the assassins of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It didn’t care when it announced new Jewish settlements on occupied land in East Jerusalem while Joe Biden, the Vice-President of its erstwhile ally, the United States, was in town. Why should Israel care now?

How did we get to this point? Maybe because we all grew used to seeing the Israelis kill Arabs, maybe the Israelis grew used to killing Arabs. Now they kill Turks. Or Europeans. Something has changed in the Middle East these past 24 hours – and the Israelis (given their extraordinarily stupid political response to the slaughter) don’t seem to have grasped what has happened. The world is tired of these outrages. Only the politicians are silent.

Diplomatic storms

*Goldstone report, November 2009

Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week conflict along with 13 Israelis. The South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s report into the conflict found both Israel and the Hamas movement that controls the Strip guilty of war crimes, but focused more on Israel. Israel refused to co-operate with Goldstone and described his report as distorted and biased.

* The al-Mabhouh assassination, January-May 2010

Britain and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats after concluding that Israel had forged British and Australian passports used by assassins to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed or denied a role in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in January. Britain said such misuse of British passports was “intolerable”. Australia said it was not the behaviour of “a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship”.

*Settlements row, March 2010

Israel announces plans, during visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden, to build 1,600 homes for Jews in an area of the West Bank annexed by Israel. The announcement triggers unusually harsh criticism from the United States. Washington said it damaged its efforts to revive the Middle East peace process. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the project was an insult. Netanyahu said he was blindsided by planning bureaucrats and apologised to Biden. Today’s meeting with Barack Obama at the White House, called off by Mr Netanyahu so he could return home to deal with the flotilla crisis, was supposed to be another part of the fence-mending between the two allies.

*Nuclear secrecy, May 2010

Israel, widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, has faced renewed calls to sign a global treaty barring the spread of atomic weapons. Signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East. The declaration was adopted by all 189 parties to the NPT, including the US. It urged Israel to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under UN safeguards.”

(Quelle: The Independent.)

Siehe auch:

Israel: remember 1947 and the Exodus ship

Israel: Keine Verträge mit dem Atomwaffensperrvertrag

Sonntag, Mai 30th, 2010

“Netanyahu: Israel is not bound by NPT resolution

Prime minister’s office dismisses international call for Middle East nuclear talks as ‘deeply flawed and hypocritical’

By Barak Ravid and Haaretz Service

Israel has no obligation to act on a resolution passed at a UN conference on Friday that singled out Israel over non-proliferation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Saturday.

At the conclusion of a month-long conference in New York, the 189 signatories of the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) called for an international conference in 2012 with the aim of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.

‘As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel,’ the prime minister’s office said in a statement. ‘Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation.’

Israel, which operates a policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ but is widely believed to have an arsenal of atomic warheads, has not signed the NPT and is not required by international law to comply with the conference’s resolutions.

The resolution also called on Israel, along with two other non-signatories, India and Pakistan, to join the treaty.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he strongly opposed efforts to single out Israel on non-proliferation and would oppose actions that jeopardize Israel’s national security (…).”

Weiterlesen…

(Quelle: Haaretz.)

Atomwaffensperrvertrag: Enttäuschender Konferenzabschluss

Samstag, Mai 29th, 2010

“Nuklearfreie Zone Naher Osten

An der Überprüfungskonferenz des Atomsperrvertrages in der UNO in New York ist ein Schlussdokument verabschiedet worden. Der Vertrag soll gestärkt werden

Konkrete Fortschritte wie sie Bundesrätin Micheline Calmy-Rey in ihrer Rede zu Beginn der Konferenz in New York forderte, wurden nicht gemacht. So fehlen im Dokument klare Zeitvorgaben und weitere Zusagen zum Abbau der Waffenarsenale der Atommächte. Auch gibt es keine klare Absage an die Entwicklung neuer Nuklearwaffen. Eine kritische Erwähnung der Modernisierung der Nuklearwaffenarsenale fehlt ebenso.

Als Erfolg gewertet darf die die Forderung, 2012 eine Konferenz über die Schaffung einer nuklearfreien Zone im Nahen Osten durchzuführen. Ein Spezial-Koordinator der UNO soll das Projekt vorantreiben, heisst es in der Abschlusserklärung, um die lange gerungen wurde.

Schweiz für nuklearfreien Nahen Osten

Die Schweiz unterstützt diese ursprünglich arabische Idee. Die westlichen Mächte erhalten dadurch ein weiteres Instrument erhalten, Iran vom Bau einer Atombombe abzuhalten. Die islamische Welt kann Druck auf Israel ausüben, das bis jetzt nie zugab, im Besitz von Atomwaffen zu sein und den Sperrvertrag nicht unterzeichnet hat. Weiter sieht die neue Abschlusserklärung eine Stärkung des Nichtverbreitungs-Regimes und der internationalen Atomenergiebehörde IAEA vor.

Der Vertrag, der vor 40 Jahren in Kraft trat, stützt sich auf drei Pfeiler. Zum einen verpflichten sich die Atommächte zur Abrüstung, zum zweiten soll hochangreichertes Nuklearmaterial nicht weiter verbreitet werden, zum dritten garantiert er jedem Staat das Recht auf friedliche Nutzung von Kernenergie.

Da die alle fünf Jahre stattfindende Konferenz 2005 kläglich scheiterte, sind die Diplomaten dieses Jahr froh, wenigstens kleine Fortschritte verzeichnen zu können. Das fundamentals Umdenken, das Calmy-Rey im Bezug auf den Nutzen von Atomwaffen forderte, hat jedoch noch nicht stattgefunden.

Die Schweizer Aussenministerin hatte argumentiert, Kernwaffen seien illegal und mit dem Völkerrecht nicht zu vereinbar. Sie gehörten deshalb nicht in die nationale Verteidigungstrategie eines Landes. Doch sowohl die USA wie auch Russland halten an Abschreckungsstrategien fest.

Mit Völkerrecht unvereinbar

Die Schweiz setzt darauf, Atomwaffen über das Völkerrecht zu delegitimisieren. Sie hat eine von angesehenen amerikanischen Experten mitgestaltete Studie herausgegeben, die am Rande der Konferenz präsentiert wurde. Sie zeigt auf, dass das Argument der Abschreckung keine Gültigkeit hat.

Die Studie kommt zum Schluss, dass eine neue Konvention zum absoluten Verbot von Nuklearwaffen in der Weltöffentlichkeit grosse Unterstützung finden würde.

Die Vertreter der Schweiz setzten sich in New York weiter für eine Forderung ein, die das Land schon vor zehn Jahren einbrachte: Von den rund 27’000 Atomwaffen, die zu 95 Prozent in den Händen der USA und Russland sind, können zwischen 1000 und 2000 minutenschnell abgefeuert werden. Diese Bereitschaftstufe, macht die Schweiz in einer weiteren Studie deutlich, könnte leicht zurückgeschraubt werden.”

(Quelle: Basler Zeitung.)

Siehe auch:

Turkey’s Erdogan says nuke powers must disarm
U.N. Nuke Meet Ends with Good Intentions and Empty Promises