Australian news, and some related international items

Egypt’s secretive nuclear operations

Why has Egypt never come clean about the full scope of its nuclear activities and experimentation?..In the months and years ahead, the United States must ensure that Egypt’s dormant nuclear ambitions stay that way.

Egypt’s Nuclear Dimension, THE HUFFINGTON POST, Joe Cirincione, 13 Feb 2011, As a free Egypt transforms itself, analysts are nervously watching for signs of new nuclear ambitions. Concern revolves around three issues:

There are unanswered questions about Egypt’s past nuclear activities.
Egypt has the know-how and networks necessary to ramp up its civilian nuclear power program.
Egypt plays a central role in the global non-proliferation regime and is key to agreement to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction.
Before he became a special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Robert Einhorn analyzed Egypt’s history in The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices: “Considering the factors that have historically motivated countries to acquire nuclear weapons, one might assume that Egypt would be a likely candidate.”Egypt has a nuclear and conventionally superior neighbor, Israel, with whom it has fought territorial wars. The military is well-respected in Egyptian culture (as evidenced by the smooth transition of power from Mubarak to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces). The state has trained many nuclear scientists and has a long history of nuclear research. And, as a leader of the Arab world, Egypt wants to play a prominent role in world affairs. As Einhorn observed, these are some of the tell-tale signs of nuclear ambitions.
Unanswered Questions

In 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report chastising Egypt for not disclosing a number of atomic research activities over the years. Just last year, the IAEA again launched an inquiry into the origin of highly enriched uranium particles that were detected at Egyptian research facilities in 2007 and 2008. Cairo has claimed that it had “differing interpretations” from the IAEA. But the concerns remain, especially in light of Egypt’s refusal to sign the Additional Protocol — allowing for tougher inspections — until Israel accepts IAEA safeguards.

Why has Egypt never come clean about the full scope of its nuclear activities and experimentation?…..

Recently, Egypt has begun to accelerate its civilian atomic energy program, calling for international bids to construct the first of four planned nuclear reactors. Though permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), this could get tricky………

Overall, nuclear watchdogs have cause for concern. Egypt has played a central role in the creation of the global non-proliferation regime and will continue to be an important U.S. ally in the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons. As Einhorn concluded in his study:

Egyptian leaders seem to have reached the conclusion years ago that a nuclear weapons capability would undermine higher national priorities, especially peace and stability in the region, economic development, and close ties with the United States.
It would take a major change in circumstances to get Egypt to alter its long-standing posture, including the combination of a serious external threat and a substantial change in the composition and orientation of Egypt’s leadership.

This, however, is exactly the situation we now confront, with the advance of an Iranian nuclear program and a peaceful revolution that has transformed the core of Egyptian politics. In the months and years ahead, the United States must ensure that Egypt’s dormant nuclear ambitions stay that way.Joe Cirincione: Egypt’s Nuclear Dimension

February 14, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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