AIR DEFENSE BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE CIVIL DEFENSE
May - June 2007
AMERICAN STRATEGIC DEFENSE ASSOCIATION
In this Issue:
“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians.”
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) May, 2007
The talking standoff with Iran has continued the past two months. Iran and the US held the first face-to-face meetings since 1979 but not on the subject of Iran’s nuclear program. To silence some of the more naïve members of the foreign policy community, the State Department representative met with Iranian foreign ministry representatives to complain about shipments of munitions from Iran to car bomb makers in Iraq. That is still going on despite the talks.
As to the nuclear program, Iran was under instructions from the UN Security Council to suspend all uranium-enrichment efforts by May 23. IAEA monitors made a snap inspection of the Natanz enrichment facility over the May 12-13 weekend and found the Iranians had brought many more centrifuges into operation.
On May 15, the US called for tough international action against Iran if it defies the UN resolution. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said: “What is key here and what is obvious to everyone is that Iran has continued to act in defiance of the wishes of the inter-national community. We need to continue to apply pressure and increase pressure with an additional Security Council resolution if they don’t comply.”
IAEA chief Mohamad ElBaradei said, “We believe they pretty much have the knowledge about how to enrich. From now on, it is simply a question of perfecting that knowledge. People will not like to hear it, but that’s a fact.”
Many experts caution that Iranian technicians still face obstacles in combining the individual centrifuges into functioning chains that will gradually increase the proportion of U-235. And this has to be done on an industrial scale if enriched weapons-grade material is to be acquired in several years.
Iran, of course, did not attempt to meet the UN deadline and Security Council staff began the development of a new resolution. President Bush also planned to raise the Iran issue at the June summit of the Group of Eight in Germany. In Berlin, Germany’s foreign minister cited no progress in talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on how to redefine enrichment. With the UN Security Council preparing to debate a third set of sanctions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke up: “We advise them to give up stubbornness and childish games. Some say Iran is like a lion. It’s seated quietly in a corner. We advise them not to play with the lion’s tail.” He added: “It is too late to stop the progress of Iran.”
Tehran does have some internal dissention and attempted to calm the masses by taking into custody several Iranian-Americans who were visiting relatives on charges of spying. The masses were aroused when the government instituted gasoline rationing and burned down 17 gas stations and engaged in other riotous acts. Back in Washington, the most powerful man in Congress, Senator Joe Lieberman, had the last word. It is our “quotable quote.” Iran is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, but it doesn’t have many refineries. Iran must import more than half of the gasoline its people use. It seems the fuel rationing imposed near the end of June may be an attempt to reduce Iran’s dependence on foreign gas imports that other governments could use to pressure Tehran to halt its nuclear program.
Most of May and June have passed waiting for $25 million of North Korean money to be transferred to North Korea from a bank in China. The money had been frozen there by the US Treasury as coming from counterfeiting our $100 bill and other illegal activities including sale of heroin and cocaine. Kim Jong-Il had stopped denuclearization until he got the money back. The US Treasury unfroze the money in April but it has taken until the end of June for the transfer to be completed. On June 15, Pyongyang announced it had invited IAEA inspectors to return for discussions concerning the closure of its nuclear reactor. A few days later, Pyongyang suddenly requested an urgent visit from Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the chief US negotiator. Hill visited the North Korean capital on June 21-22. The visit came about so quickly that Hill Ws accompanied only by his immediate staff. The result was an agreement on a three-week timeframe for shutting down the North’s plutonium-producing reactor. What on earth was going on? Here is what.
Kim Jong-Il’s health is in question. On May 28, a South Korean newspaper suggested Kim was suffering from heart, kidney, or liver disease—or all of the above. The Bloomberg news service then reported that a team from the German Heart Institute had operated on the North Korean leader in mid-May for a blocked artery. Korean officials have told reporters there that they do not think his illness is critical. But the possibility of regime change looms.
Kim succeeded his father upon his death in 1994. He had been groomed as a successor as early as the 1970s. But although Kim has three sons, neither they nor anyone else appears to be in line to succeed the 65-year-old dictator. Kim has monopolized high-level policy making to the extent that if he is incapacitated it is not clear who would handle denuclearization.
On the opposite page is the latest organization chart for FEMA, showing the leadership in each box. What is significant is that there are only two “acting” appointments in the whole chart—Grant Programs and the Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness. Click HERE to view the FEMA Organizational Chart in .pdf format.
Unfortunately, there is a paucity of information on the functions and objectives of each of those boxes in the chart. A survey of a number of magazines and newsletters devoted to homeland security and natural disaster preparedness found that discussion of the “New FEMA” consisted largely of naming the organizational elements of the now-defunct Preparedness Directorate that have been transferred to FEMA. One should say “transferred back” since most were detached from FEMA to form the Preparedness Direct-orate in the recent past. Administrator Paulison could say “welcome back” to more than just the US Fire Administration.
Politicians and op-ed writers and possibly even the US government show increasing signs of concern about a terrorist nuclear attack on an American city. Some localities have actually done something. ASDAite Jane Orient takes note of Kirk Paradise in Huntsville-Madison County, AL. Alabama is one of the few states to keep its instruments operational when FEMA terminated the national radiation monitoring system in 1993. Paradise started by locating the National Fallout Shelter Survey for his county, last printed in 1992. Madison County had 150 federally surveyed and approved public fallout shelters, with a capacity for 300,000 persons. Huntsville hired a civil engineer to survey new buildings. Space has been identified in new government buildings, private schools, shopping malls, churches, banks and apartments. The majority of owners have given consent to post signs and to use the space in case of need. A course has been organized and 78 shelter managers now trained. Shelters are not stocked at the present time. Shelterees are expected to bring their own food and water. Huntsville is working on grants for stockpiling supplies.
After spending May issuing outraged rejection and empty threats concerning the proposed missile defense sites in Poland and the Czeck Republic, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised President Bush at the Group of Eight summit with an offer “to build a joint system” in Azerbaijan, according to The New York Times. Well, not exactly. The joint radar facility in Azerbaijan would replace the planned radar in the Czeck Republic. All of the planned interceptors for Poland would be scrubbed as “pre-mature.” It makes for an interesting dis-cussion when Putin visits Bush at Kennebunkport in July.