Tag Archives: Nuclear Weapons

Pacifist Obama decides on deeper nuclear deterrent cuts

On the ForeignPolicy.com website, R. Jeffrey Smith of the extremely leftist “Center for Public Integrity” says that Barack Obama and his administration’s officials have settled on the number to which they will cut America’s nuclear deterrent beyond the cuts already imposed, and to try to justify these cuts, which he enthusiastically supports, he makes a litany of false claims.

In other words, his screed is a litany of blatant lies.

The deployed US nuclear arsenal is to be cut, under Obama’s plans, from 1,550 to just 1,000-1,100 warheads – i.e. by a third. Obama also wants to reduce America’s total nuclear stockpile – including reserve warheads and tactical nuclear weapons – to just 2,500, i.e. by 50%, from about 5,000 today.

Smith tacitly admits that these cuts – and their announcement – were cowardly delayed until Obama was safely reelected so that Obama would not lose the election:

“Several said the results were not disclosed at the time partly because of political concerns that any resulting controversy might rob Obama of votes in the November election. Some Republican lawmakers have said they oppose cutting the U.S. arsenal out of concern that it could diminish America’s standing in the world.”

This is a tacit recognition that American voters would likely NOT approve of his planned gutting of America’s nuclear deterrent, and would’ve likely voted him out of office, had the cuts been announced prior to the election

It is only now that Obama will announce these cuts, now that he’s safely reelected and that he doesn’t have to face voters again.

Smith says that “Senior Obama administration officials have agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security, according to sources involved in the deliberations”, and falsely claims of the draft nuclear arsenal cut decision and targeting strategy that “It makes clear that an even smaller nuclear force can still meet all defense requirements.”

But that is completely false. A significantly smaller nuclear arsenal will not be able to meet most, let alone all, of America’s defense requirements and those of its allies. It will not be able to effectively deter America’s enemies for the simple reason that it will be too small. Being significantly smaller, it will not be survivable enough and will thus be much easier for both Russia and China to destroy in a nuclear first strike on the US. Even if they refrain from such a drastic action, they will certainly use America’s weakness to intimidate Washington and its allies and to attack American allies and interests around the world. Don’t delude yourself that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran would refrain from doing that if they had the opportunity to do so.

The fact is that a nuclear arsenal, in order to be survivable, MUST be large – there’s no way around that fact. In order to be an effective deterrent, it also must be able to hold the vast majority of enemy military and economic assets at risk. A smaller arsenal and the new nuclear strategy prepared for Obama’s signature will be utterly unable to do so.

This is because there are simply so many strategic and nonstrategic weapon sites and other important military (and economic) targets in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran that being able to target a majority of them will require far more warheads than Obama would allow – not a mere 1000-1100, but at least 1,550, if not more. The Heritage Foundation’s nuclear weapons experts have estimated that about 2,700-3,000 nuclear warheads are required for that.

And why is it important to target at least a majority, if not the vast majority, of an enemy’s assets? Because only then will he suffer a truly devastating and prohibitively costly retaliation if he commits aggressions. If he loses only a minority of his assets – even if they’re the most important ones – he will not be deterred from attacking. Only if the vast majority of his assets are held at risk will he refrain from aggression.

Yet, Obama and his bureaucrats and apparatchiks don’t care about that. All they care about is disarming the US and creating their pipedream “world without nuclear weapons”, a fiction that will never exist.

So instead of reviewing possible targets and then deciding on how many warheads the US needs, they’ll instead impose an ideological, arbitrary warhead cut on the military: no more than 1000-1100 warheads, and the military will have to adapt its targeting strategy to that.

They’ve got it exactly backwards. They’re imposing an arbitrary warhead limit on the military and forcing it to THEN come up with a targeting strategy to fit that limit.

Smith also uncritically repeats the 2010 NPR’s false claim that nuclear weapons are

“poorly suited to address the challenges posed by suicidal terrorists and unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons.”

This is a blatant lie. Nuclear weapons are very well suited to defend America and its allies against rogue regimes seeking or already possessing nuclear weapons. When your enemy is seeking – or already has – such weapons, a large and survivable nuclear deterrent is your ONLY chance of survival.

Indeed, America’s nuclear deterrent is its – and its allies’ – only real insurance policy against the large nuclear arsenals of Russia and China, the small but growing arsenal of North Korea (which Pyongyang plans to test again later this month), and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Conventional weapons cannot substitute; only nuclear weapons have the striking power capable of imposing a sufficient retaliation and thus of deterring these enemies.

As I have documented and proven numerous times, most recently last week on CDN, nuclear weapons are not relics of a bygone era; they are vital assets which are very much needed today to deter Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

Smith also falsely claims that:

“The financial savings from even the modest reduction now being contemplated could be substantial, according to officials and independent experts. Already, to comply with New Start, the Pentagon has been pulling warheads from land-based missiles and making plans to decommission some of the missiles themselves; it is also planning to reduce the number of missile tubes aboard its Trident submarines.

By pushing the arsenal size even lower, it could close perhaps two of its three land-based missile wings and cut at least two of the 12 new strategic submarines it now plans to build — saving $6 billion to $8 billion for each one. Eliminating a single wing of 150 missiles would save roughly $360 million a year, or more than $3 billion over a decade, according to Tom Collina, research director at the Arms Control Association, a non-profit research group in Washington. Modernization of the remaining land-based missiles might also be deferred, bringing additional savings.”

Firstly, Collina is not an expert, he’s an extremely leftist pro-unilateral-disarmament propagandist. He has zero expertise in the field of national security. Indeed, no real expert worth his salt would make claims as ridiculous as those quoted above.

Secondly, compliance with New START treaty produces only tiny “savings” but high compliance costs (of dismantling the missiles and warheads and disabling submarine missile tubes) and, on balance, costs far more money than it saves.

Thirdly, the claim that eliminating a single wing of ICBM would save “roughly $360 million a year” is false. Even eliminating the ENTIRE ICBM leg of the nuclear triad would save only 1 bn USD per year; cutting one of the current 3 ICBM wings would save even less. Furthermore, given that the ICBM leg of the triad is the cheapest and most reliable of the three legs of the triad, the damage thus done to national security would far outweight the meagre monetary savings this would produce.

Fourthly, eliminating one SSBN of the planned new ballistic missile submarine class would save, at most, only $4.9 bn per year (which is their real cost), not $6-8 bn as the author falsely claims. Furthermore, fewer submarines in total means fewer submarines at sea, which means fewer targets for Russian or Chinese attack submarines to sink.

Fifth, the claim – which the author repeates throughout the entire article – that the deep cuts Obama has ordered will save lots of money is also completely false. All of the cuts that Obama has now decided on will not make ANY impact – even the most meager one – on the budget deficit, which is $1 trillion per year. Even saving, say, $10 bn per year on nuclear weapons would not make even the most trivial impact on the federal budget deficit. What’s more, even eliminating the entire US nuclear arsenal altogether would not make any meaningful impact on the deficit, because the US nuclear arsenal costs only $35.2 bn per year to maintain.

Remember: the entire federal budget deficit is 1 trillion per year. Even eliminating the nuclear arsenal entirely would not even make a dent in the deficit.

Moreover, Jeffrey Smith’s claim that China has a “deterrence-only policy” is also a blatant lie. China actually has a far larger arsenal than the author and other disarmament proponents claim. It has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver at least 1,274 of them immediately, including about 200 of them to the US.

Smith also falsely claims that other nuclear weapon states are also reconsidering their nuclear arsenals, but the only country doing so – and the only example he gives – is cash-strapped Britain where, as in the US, even supposedly “conservative” politicians prefer to cut defense rather than social spending (which, in the British government budget, is 7 times higher than defense spending). An unnamed British official claims that Britain needs a “debate” on nuclear deterrence and might scale back or cancel its procurement or deployment of new SSBNs and their warheads.

But Britain is the ONLY nuclear weapon state other than the US cutting its nuclear arsenal. No other country is doing so. Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and Israel are all GROWING and MODERNIZING, not shrinking, their nuclear arsenals. They have no intention of cutting, let alone giving up, their nuclear arsenals.

So we’re seeing the most dangerous phenomenon and most dangerous world possible: the West is unilaterally disarming itself while Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and others are growing their nuclear arsenals!

This is a recipe for suicide, aggression, death, and destruction.

Finally, the claim – which the author and Obama administration officials continue to repeat throughout the article – that the US will still be secure even with such a significantly reduced arsenal is also a blatant lie. The US will not be secure. The US will be threatened and frequently blackmailed by both Russia and China. Moreover, even if the cuts are done through a treaty with Russia, it’s very likely that Russia will not comply with it, just like it hasn’t complied with any previous treaty it has signed.

Furthermore, we must not forget that while Russia and China are threats to many and protectors to nobody, the US is responsible for providing a nuclear deterrrent not just for itself, but also for 30 allies. If the US makes the cuts that Obama calls for, many of America’s allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons. And you can bet that they will.

Shame on Jeffrey Smith for writing this litany of blatant leftist lies, and shame on Foreign Policy for publishing it.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/02/08/obama_embraces_big_nuke_cuts

Nuclear weapons are not relics of a bygone era

The Left, led by pro-disarmament organizations such as the Ploughshares Fund and stridently leftist “journalists” such as Robert Burns of the Associated Press, is currently trying to mislead the public into thinking that nuclear weapons are relics of a bygone era, the Cold War. Leftists such as Burns and 44 stridently liberal House Democrats have even gone so far as to claim that America’s nuclear arsenal makes the US less secure and that nuclear weapons are “liabilities rather than assets”. Ploughshares’ president Joseph Cirincione even claims that the benefits of America’s nuclear weapons are outweighed by the “threat” they pose.

But all of that is rubbish. And in this article, I will demonstrate why.

Firstly, I’ll demonstrate the need for nuclear weapons in general.

Contrary to the Left’s unceasing siren song that “we’re in the 21st century”, that nuclear weapons are “relics of the Cold War”, and so forth, there is actually a huge need for a large, diverse American nuclear deterrent. The mere fact that the Cold War is over and the Berlin Wall has fallen does not mean that nuclear weapons are no longer needed, or that America’s deterrent can be safely slashed further.

The need for that deterrent is, of course, generated by America’s potential adversaries and their military (especially nuclear) capabilities.

What are these?

Russia has a very large strategic nuclear arsenal (2,800 warheads, 1,500 of them deployed and 1,300 in reserve) and the means to deliver it:

  • Over 250 strategic bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, and 151-171[1] Tu-22Ms), each capable of carrying six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and a nuclear freefall bomb;
  • 14 ballistic missile submarines (5 Delta III class, 7 Delta IV class, 1 Typhoon class[2], and 1 Borei class submarine[3]), which can carry 16 ballistic missiles each (the Typhoon class boat can carry 20); these missiles include the 12-warhead Liner SLBM and the 10-warhead Bulava SLBM;
  • 434 ICBMs, including (numbers in parentheses refer to the maximum warhead carriage capacity):
  1. 58 SS-18 Satan missiles (10 warheads and 30 penetration aids each);
  2. 136 SS-19 Stiletto missiles (6 warheads/missile);
  3. 171 SS-25 Sickle (RT-2PM Topol) missiles (single-warhead);
  4. 74 SS-27 Sickle B (RT-2UTTH) missiles (single-warhead);
  5. at least 18 SS-29 (RS-24) missiles (4 warheads/missile).

The Satan fleet alone can carry 580 warheads to the CONUS. Russia’s ICBMs are not currently loaded with the maximum possible number of warheads, but can be thus loaded at any time, if the Kremlin so orders.

Russia also has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal – far larger than that of the US. It is estimated to have at least 1,000-4,000 tactical nuclear warheads – by any measure, far more than the US has (about 500). These are warheads of various types: missile warheads, aircraft bombs, nuclear depth charges, nuclear torpedo warheads, nuclear artillery shells, etc. They are deliverable by a wide range of systems, including aircraft (e.g. the Su-24, Su-25, Tupolev bombers, and the Su-27/30/33/34/35 Flanker family; Russia plans to procure 200 Su-34s), short-range ballistic missiles (e.g. the SS-26 Stone), surface warships, submarines, and artillery pieces.

So Russia alone has a huge nuclear arsenal which America must defend itself and its allies against. It has, in recent years, made repeated threats (over a dozen in the last 4 years alone) to use these weapons against the US or its allies if they don’t succumb to Russia’s demands on various issues.

Thus, the Russian threat, by itself, is huge and justifies the retention of a large US nuclear arsenal.

But let’s also look at other nuclear threats to US security.

Despite the false claims of Western disarmament advocates (who make such false claims to lull the American public into a false sense of security)[4], China’s nuclear arsenal is far larger than they claim and than the DOD admits. How large is it? No one knows for sure – China refuses to disclose its size – but three very credible, impartial, objective studies have been conducted on this subject to date.

Georgetown University professor (and former chief DOD nuclear weapon strategist) Dr Philip A. Karber and his students have done a holistic, unbiased study which concluded that based on China’s 3,000 mile long network of military tunnels and bunkers for its missiles and warheads, China has up to 3,000 nuclear warheads. (Their length alone should tell us that China has far more than 300-400 nuclear warheads. You don’t build such a vast network of tunnels to hide only 300 warheads; such a huge construction project for such small purposes would’ve been financially unfeasible (in other words, a huge waste of money). The Chinese wouldn’t have built it for just 300 warheads (and the fact that they did is documented and has been publicly admitted by the DOD). You don’t build 10 miles of tunnels for one warhead. Common sense alone should tell you that such a network has been built for a far larger arsenal of warheads and missiles.)

Former Russian Strategic Rocket Forces chief of staff Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin (who has close ties to the Kremlin and is privy to classified information) has done his own study in which  he concludes that China has 1,600-1,800 nuclear warheads, if not more. He based this conclusion on current Russian estimates of China’s delivery system inventories and of China’s stockpile of fissile material (weapons-grade uranium and plutonium), which he estimates to be sufficient for 3,600 nuclear warheads (but says not all of it has been used so far to build actual warheads, only half of it). He also takes China’s vast tunnel network – called the Great Underground Wall of China – into account.

Yours truly has conducted his own study, based on the most accurate and up-to-date estimates of China’s fissile material stockpile size and delivery system inventories (or, where such estimates were unavailable, conservative assumptions), as well as targeting possibilities  and its underground tunnel network. Based on this, I have concluded that China has at least 1,119 intercontinental and medium-range delivery systems capable of delivering, at minimum, 1,274 warheads.

WRT delivery systems, China currently has:

  • 36 multiple-warhead DF-5 heavy ICBMs, at least 30 [5] DF-31/31A ICBMs (3-4 warheads each), and at least one DF-41 heavy ICBM (capable of carrying 10 warheads)[6];
  • 20-40 single-warhead DF-3 MRBMs, 20 DF-4 IRBMs (3-4 warheads each), and at least 80 DF-21 MRBMs;
  • Over 1,600 SRBMs plus hundreds of nuclear-capable Land Attack Cruise Missiles (although most of these are probably conventionally-armed);
  • 440 nuclear-capable strike aircraft and bombers (Q-5s, JH-7s, H-6s); and
  • 1 Xia class ballistic missile submarine (with 12 single-warhead JL-1 SLBMs) and 5 Jin class SSBNs (armed with 12-24 JL-2 SLBMs each; one JL-2 can carry 4 warheads over a distance of 8,000 kms).

Then there are North Korea and Iran. North Korea has ICBMs capable of reaching the CONUS (as demonstrated by its December 2012 test of such an ICBM and its announcement of a planned test of the KN-08 ICBM) and can mate nuclear warheads to them. It also has thousands of SRBMs and MRBMs, as well as some BM25 Musudan-ri IRBMs with a range of 4,000 kms – enough to strike Okinawa and Guam. North Korea is currently estimated to have ca. 12 nuclear warheads.

Iran does not have nuclear weapons yet, but it’s well on its way to the nuclear club.

Moreover, we must remember that while Russia, China, and North Korea are threats to many and protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only for itself, but also for 30 allies, many of whom would likely go nuclear if that nuclear umbrella was dismantled or taken away from them. That would make the nuclear proliferation problem worse, not better. In the past, several US allies, such as Japan, South Korea, and Poland, have repeatedly warned the US against further cuts in its nuclear umbrella and have reaffirmed the great importance they attach to it.

The question that the proponents of America’s nuclear disarmament should be forced to ask is: if nuclear weapons are really relics of the Cold War and liabilities for the US, why do so many allies attach such a great importance to America’s nuclear umbrella, and why are so many countries interested in acquiring nuclear weapons?

Answer: because they know that nuclear weapons, far from being relics of a bygone era, are useful and vital assets.

No, nuclear weapons are not relics of the Cold War, irrelevant weapons, or liabilities. They are vital, indispensable assets. America must not reduce its nuclear arsenal any further.

[1] Reputed analyst Sean O’Connor estimates Russia to have 171 Tu-22Ms; Wikipedia says Russia has 151 (93+58).

[2] Russia also has 2 additional Typhoons in reserve. It is not clear what it intends do to with these boats: scrap or recommission them.

[3] The first four boats of the Borei class will have 16 missile tubes each. All successive boats of this class, however, starting with the fifth, will have 20 missile tubes each, meaning that the Russian submarine fleet’s SLBM carriage capacity will increase as the 5th and every consecutive Borei class boat enters service.

[4] Among them are people such as longtime Danish pacifist Hans M. Kristensen, who has spent virtually his entire adult life campaigning for the West’s unilateral disarmament, having joined Greenpeace in 1982, during the height of the Soviet military buildup, at the age of 21.

[5] The figure of 30 DF-31/31A ICBMs comes from 2009. Almost four years have passed since then, so China has certainly increased its DF-31 inventory by a significant margin.

[6] The DF-41 was first photographed in 2007 and has been tested since then, and although the PLA did not parade it during the parade commemorating the 60th anniversary of the PRC’s founding, it’s reasonable to assume that the DF-41 is in service today.

Why America must not cut its nuclear arsenal any further

Russia and China are rapidly growing and modernizing their nuclear arsenals, North Korea is perfecting its warheads and missiles, Iran is racing towards nuclear weapons, and what do Western arms control advocacy organizations advocate? That the US disarm itself unilaterally, starting with deep unilateral cuts in its nuclear warhead stockpile and ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet.

But any further cuts to America’s nuclear arsenal or any component of its nuclear triad would be reckless, irresponsible, and very dangerous for national security by significantly weakening America’s only deterrent against nuclear threats. Weakening that deterrent (by cutting or neglecting it) is always dangerous for America, but it’s especially dangerous when hostile countries are building up their nuclear arsenals and other hostile countries are developing atomic weapons. So here are additional reasons why America must not cut its nuclear deterrent any further.

1) Russia is rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal, as it is allowed to do under the New START treaty. When that treaty was ratified, Russia was well below its ceilings on strategic nuclear warheads and their carriers. Now, it’s just 58 warheads below the limit and intends to continue building up to it. It also threatens to withdraw from the treaty if the US deploys any missile defense systems in Europe. It has also violated the treaty by holding bomber exercises without sending prior notification to the US.

It currently has 400-472 ICBMs, most of them multiple-warhead missiles (including some, such as SS-18 Satan ICBMs, that can carry 10 warheads and many decoys each), 141 Tu-95 and 16 Tu-160 strategic bombers, and over 200 Tu-22M and Su-34 bombers. Each Tupolev bomber can carry multiple nuclear-tipped missiles as well as nuclear free-fall bombs.

Moreover, Russia has 12-13 SSBNs and plans to have, in the next few decades, at least 12 SSBNs, most of which will carry 16 SLBMs but some (starting with the 4th Borei class SSBN) will carry 20 missiles – 4 more than what the American SSBN replacement class is planned to carry, thus outgunning the planned future SSBN fleet of the Navy, which will consist of only 12 boats. Cutting the SSBN fleet (or any other component of the nuclear triad) any further would weaken that fleet (and consequently, the US nuclear arsenal at large) vis-a-vis Russia’s boomer fleet further and give Moscow a nuclear advantage over the US, thus allowing Russia to blackmail the US and its allies with nuclear weapons. And why would Russia not exploit such advantage over the US mercilessly if it gains it? Of course it would.

On top of that, Russia has a much larger tactical nuclear arsenal than the US, with thousands (and potentially over 10,000) tactical nuclear warheads deployed on a wide range of delivery systems: cruise missiles (air- and sea-launched), SRBMs, aircraft dropping nuclear bombs, torpedoes, etc. The US has only a few hundred (400-500) tactical nuclear weapons, of which only about 200 are deployed in Europe.

In short, Russia enjoys approximate strategic nuclear parity with the US, has a huge advantage over the US in tactical nuclear weapons, and thus, any cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal or any element of the strategic triad would weaken the US vis-a-vis Russia and give Moscow a nuclear advantage over the US.

2) China is also quickly building up its arsenals. According to credible studies – unlike the guesstimates of the US intelligence community, which are almost 3 decades out of date, and the false claims of pro-disarmament groups – China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads – and the means to deliver them, including over 70 ICBMs, at least 72 (and up to 132) SLBMs, 120-130 MRBMs and IRBMs, and over 1,600 SRBMs, not to mention hundreds of LACMs and 440 nuclear-armed bombers.

China is now producing and deploying three new types of ICBMs (DF-31A, DF-41, JL-2) and MIRVing these missiles as well as its older DF-5 ICBMs and DF-4 IRBMs. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal (or any component of the nuclear triad) deeply would leave America with a much smaller nuclear arsenal than China’s (which consists of 1,800 – 3,000 warheads), thus enabling Beijing to blackmail and even attack America and its Asian allies, all of whom depend on the US umbrella.

Even bilateral cuts with Russia would thus gravely undermine US security, as they would deeply reduce America’s nuclear deterrent vis-a-vis China.

3) Other countries are also increasing their nuclear arsenals, despite, or perhaps because of, continous cuts to America’s deterrent. These countries include Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. Pyongyang and Islamabad cannot be deterred with a small number of nuclear weapons. Pakistan alone has over 100 nuclear warheads.

4) Last but certainly not least, the US needs a large nuclear deterrent to protect its 30 treaty allies and other friends who depend on the American nuclear umbrella. This cannot be done with a small arsenal; it would be woefully insufficient to reassure allies about that arsenal’s credibility – and the credibility of America’s guarantees.

Unlike Russia and China, which are threats to many and protectors to nobody except North Korea, the US is responsible for providing a nuclear deterrent not just for itself but for over 30 allies in Europe and Asia, who are threatened by Russia and China.

Any further cuts will cause these allies to doubt America’s nuclear deterrent and, at some point, develop their own nuclear weapons, thus making the proliferation problem much worse. And who could blame them? They cannot afford to bet their own security and national insistence on America sobering up from its “world without nuclear weapons” fantasy in 2016.

If nuclear proliferation is the concern, cutting or eliminating America’s own nuclear deterrent is the worst way to handle it. It would only make matters worse.

As three distinguished CSBA analysts observed in December 2010′s edition of Foreign Affairs, America’s nuclear arsenal is shrinking just as its deterrence commitments are expanding substantially, and if the US cuts its nuclear arsenal below New START levels, “Washington will have fewer weapons to support these commitments, which will raise questions about its ability and its willingness to defend its allies and its partners if they are threatened by a nuclear-armed Iran.” The same must be applied to those allies threatened by Russia, China, or North Korea.[1]

Deep cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent would also encourage America’s enemies to develop their own arsenals, since any idiot can build a paltry 300 warheads, if that’s all that’s required to match the US. Many of America’s adversaries would gladly do so, if 300 warheads were enough to match the US.

So we would see many new nuclear powers – America’s allies as well as adversaries. Thus, further cuts in America’s arsenal, far from “setting an example” and “showing leadership”, would be a huge blunder and would gravely exacerbate, rather than solve or ameliorate, the problem of nuclear proliferation.

America’s nuclear deterrent is a crucial ASSET in curbing nuclear proliferation, rather than an obstacle. Cutting or eliminating it would do nothing to solve the proliferation problem. It would only exacerbate it.

Disarmament advocates sometimes falsely claim that the nuclear deterrent and its delivery systems are siphoning money away from higher defense priorities. This is a blatant lie.

Firstly, there is NO higher priority than nuclear deterrence, which protects America and its allies against the most catastrophic threats. Secondly, as demonstrated above, 450 ICBMs and ~90 nuclear bombers combined cost only $3.6 bn per year to maintain, a tiny rounding error (0.6%) in the DOD’s $531 bn annual base budget. Maintaining nuclear warheads costs barely $7.589 bn per year, again a rounding error in America’s total defense budget (which includes the DOE’s defense programs, including warhead maintenance). Combined, these tiny numbers add up to only $11.189 bn, i.e. a paltry 1.73% of the total military budget ($645 bn in FY2012).

Even eliminating the entire nuclear arsenal immediately wouldn’t produce any real savings.

As for replacement delivery systems, a single Next Gen Bomber will only cost, at most, $550 mn; a new ICBM, only ca. $70 mn (same as a Minuteman-III); and a new SSBN will cost only $2.4 bn if the DOD chooses a modified Virginia class design.

No, the nuclear deterrent is not siphoning dollars away from anything – it is other DOD programs, especially the egregiously expensive F-35 program (whose price tag is $396 bn), that are consuming money that could otherwise be invested in the overdue modernization of the nuclear deterrent – the only weapon system that has never failed America in the last 67 years.

Don’t be fooled by their claims. They don’t care about America’s defense or about defense priorities; all they want is America’s unilateral disarmament. Falsely claiming that the nuclear deterrent somehow siphons money away from other defense programs is just their latest excuse.

The record of the last 22 years is undeniable: decades of “arms reduction” and deeply cutting the US nuclear arsenal have only made America and its allies less secure and have utterly failed to stop nuclear proliferation, or to prevent China from significantly building up its nuclear arsenal.

Those who believe that America can safely cut its nuclear arsenal further are living in a kumbayah world of make-believe, a fantasy world which has nothing to do with the real Planet Earth.

No, America’s arsenal is not “oversized” nor “ripe for cuts”, nor is it expensive to maintain. It must not be cut. It must be retained at its current size (if not grown) and fully modernized along with the supporting infrastructure.

[1] Eric Edelman, Andrew Krepinevich, Evan Braden Montgomery, The Dangers of a Nuclear Iran, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2010, pp. 76-77.

The REAL size of China’s nuclear arsenal

How big is China’s nuclear arsenal?

This is a hotly-disputed issue today.

Liberal advocates of Western disarmament, such as Daryl Kimball, Tom Collina, Jeffrey Lewis and Hans Kristensen (a lifelong Danish pacifist who now lives in the US) and their organizations claim that China has only 240 warheads. US intelligence agencies still hold on to their obsolete estimate of 300-400 warheads (first made in 1984).

But there is a large and growing body of evidence that they’re dead wrong by a huge margin.

In addition to the study released earlier this year by Georgetown University’s Professor Philip Karber and his team of analysts, and a growing body of evidence that China has far more missiles of all classes than is usually estimated, retired Russian general Viktor Yesin, a former SMF Chief of Staff, estimated in his study several months ago that China has 1,800 nuclear warheads (with enough fissile material for another 1,800), of which 900 are deployed and ready for use anytime, and he gave specific estimates of how many warheads are attributed to how many delivery systems.

In total, he says, China has 50 tons of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium, half of it already used in warheads. General Yesin has recently completed a follow-on study that confirms his previous findings.

He says China has over 200 strategic warheads capable of reaching US soil, and almost 750 tactical (theater) warheads, deployed anytime, or about 950 warheads in total. He has now also given precise estimates of how many are deployed on what missiles, and what their yield (force) is. Yesin estimates China’s DF-11 and DF-15 SRBMs have warheads with a 5-20 kT yield, while DF-21 Medium Range Ballistic Missiles and DH-10 Land Attack Cruise Missiles have 350 kT warheads; JL-2 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles have 500 kT warheads, and its ICBMs have warheads of varied yields: 300 kT, 500 kT, and 2 MT.

China’s 440 strategic and theater bombers, Yesin says, carry B-4 and B-5 nuclear bombs.

Yesin also confirms that China has developed multiple independently retargetable vehicles (MIRVs) and is fielding MIRVable missiles. This is actually an understatement – China has had MIRVable DF-4 IRBMs since the 1970s, and MIRVable DF-5 ICBMs since 1981. What Yesin means are the DF-31A and DF-41A ICBMs, both now in service. He confirms that MIRVs have been deployed for DF-5s, DF-31As, DF-41As, and JL-2s.

Overall, he writes: “China’s nuclear arsenal is appreciably higher than many experts think. In all likelihood, the [People’s Republic of China] is already the third nuclear power today, after the U.S. and Russia, and it undoubtedly has technical and economic capabilities that will permit it to rapidly increase its nuclear might if necessary.”

Yesin understates the number of warheads deployed on China’s ICBMs (48) and MRBMs (99), though. The Washington Free Beacon quotes him thus:

“For missiles, the retired general said that “all told, 207 missile launchers are deployed within the Strategic Missile Forces—48 with ICBMs, 99 with [medium-range ballistic missiles] MRBMs, and 60 with [short-range] SRMs.” Total strategic warheads—those capable of reaching the United States—include 208 nuclear warheads, Yesin said.”

This is an understatement: China has 30-36 DF-5, at least 30 DF-31A, and an unknown number of DF-41 ICBMs, all of them MIRVable. Assuming that there are 72 warheads for DF-5s, 90 for DF-31As, and 10 for a single DF-41, that makes 172 warheads for ICBMs alone. China also has 80 DF-21, 20 DF-3, and 20 DF-4 MRBMs. Even if all of them are single-warhead missiles, that still means 120 MRBM warheads.

In total, this means 292 ICBM/MRBM warheads, not merely 147.

Based on open sources, China’s delivery system inventories and their warhead delivery capacities are as follows:

Warhead delivery system Inventory Maximum warheads deliverable per system Maximum warhead delivery capacity
DF-5 ICBM 36 At least 2 72
H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft 440 1 440
DF-31 30 3-4 90
DF-41 1? 10 10?
DF-3 20 1 20
DF-4 20 3 60
DF-21 80 1 80
JL-1 12 1 12
JL-2 120 4 480
DH-10 nuclear armed LACM ? ? ?
DF-11/15 nuclear armed SRBM 1,600 ? ?
Total 1,119 Various 1,264

As you can see, China has at least 1,119 intercontinental and medium range nuclear delivery systems capable of delivering, collectively, 1,264 warheads. And that’s assuming, conservatively, that no LACMs or SRBMs are nuclear-armed, and that China has only 1 DF-41 ICBM on duty. If China has more, or if at least some of its LACMs and SRBMs are nuclear-armed, China’s warhead delivery capacity is even greater.

For his part, Professor Karber says:

“The Russian specialists quoted in the report have credibility because of Moscow’s past and current role in China’s nuclear program. Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces also has good intelligence on China’s nuclear arsenal because it targeted China for three decades. This close proximity and long track record means that Russian ‘realism’ about Chinese nuclear force potential cannot be blithely ignored or discounted as ‘paranoia. Their warning against American ‘idealism’ [on China’s nuclear arms] needs to be taken seriously.”

The US -China Economic and Security Review Commission is now slowly (albeit too slowly) beginning to wake up, acknowledging that China may have more warheads than just 300, and saying that it may have as many as 500. It still, however, wrongly believes that 240 is the most likely size of China’s arsenal, despite a large and growing body of evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, it understates the threat from China’s sea-based nuclear arsenal, claiming that:

“China has had a symbolic ballistic missile submarine capability for decades but is only now on the cusp of establishing its first credible, ‘near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent.’”

This is a huge understatement: China is not “only now on the cusp of establishing its first credible, near-continous at sea strategic deterrent” – it has already established a fully continous naval nuclear deterrent. It has 1 Xia class SSBN (with 12 single-warhead JL-1 missiles) and 5 Jin class SSBNs (with 12-24 multiple warhead JL-2 missiles each). Furthermore, while JL-1 has only a 2,400 km range, the JL-2’s range is 8,000 km, allowing the Jins to target the entire US West Coast from a position just slightly east of 150E longitude. (See the map below.) Six SSBNs, assuming 61 days of patrol per sub, give China a fully continous deterrence capability for 366 days/year.

 The Xia class boat is due to be replaced soon by a sixth Jin class boat. The Jins’ long-range missiles, as stated earlier, allow them to target the entire West Coast from places just east of Japan (and Houston from a position slightly east of Hawaii). That capability was not reached by the Soviet Union’s subs until the 1980s. So China has already accomplished what the USSR needed four decades to achieve.

Nonetheless, the Commission does warn against any further uni- or bilateral (with Russia) cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal, rightly admonishing the Obama government to:

“treat with caution any proposal to unilaterally, or in the context of a bilateral agreement with Russia, reduce the U.S.’s operational nuclear forces absent clearer information being made available to the public about China’s nuclear stockpile and force posture.”

Yet, disarmament advocacy groups and their spokesmen, such as those mentioned above, unrepentantly continue to falsely claim that China has only 240 warheads, and only 50 capable of reaching the US, and hasn’t expanded its arsenal since the 1980s; they furthermore deny that China will have 75 ICBMs capable of reaching the US by 2015 (when China already has more than that as of AD 2012). So why do they continue to minimize and downplay the Chinese threat?

Because they overtly advocate America’s unilateral disarmament, including deep unilateral cuts as a first step. They don’t care about the consequences; in fact, they believe (and falsely claim) that this would make the US more secure, even though disarmament and arms reduction have never made anyone who indulges in them more secure, only less.

They don’t care about Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear buildups and have no problems with that, or with these countries’ development of new strategic weapons such as Russia’s next generation bomber, the PAK DA, new RS-24 (SS-29) ICBM, or planned new heavy ICBM, the “Son of Satan”, planned for 2018. Meanwhile, they demand that the US cancel any plans to develop a next generation bomber or ICBM, dramatically cut its existing nuclear stockpile plus ICBM and ballistic missile submarine fleets, and cut orders for future SSBNs. They claim that if America makes these deep unilateral cuts, Russia will be nice enough to reciprocate, or at least stop the expansion or modernization of its own arsenal.

Similarly, during the Cold War, they had no problem with the Soviet Union developing new strategic weapons and producing them in large numbers – they objected only to America’s development and procurement of such weapons.

All they want is America’s total nuclear disarmament.

But in order to get the public to support such policy, they first have to mislead the public into thinking that this can be done safely, i.e. to lull the public into a false sense of security.

Thus, they shamelessly lie to mislead the public into thinking that the deep cuts they advocate can be done safely, because China supposedly has only 240 warheads. They claim this means that the US can safely cut its nuclear arsenal to the low hundreds.

And, predictably, they reacted furiously to facts-based, objective studies of China’s nuclear arsenal by Professor Karber and General Yesin, because these studies and the facts contained therein constitute a huge threat to their agenda of unilaterally disarming the US. (My own study, published on November 5th, hasn’t gotten much attention yet, but if it does, it will likely be attacked just as savagely. Which won’t change the fact that every statement made therein is true.)

These studies show that China’s nuclear arsenal is highly likely to be far larger than what these liberal pro-disarmament groups falsely claim, and by informing the public and presenting evidence to back these claims up – fissile material stockpile estimates, the length of secret tunnels for missiles, estimated numbers of missiles that China has – utterly refute the myth that China has only a few hundred warheads.

And US intelligence agencies? They continue to cling to their obsolete 1984 estimate of China’s arsenal for two reasons. Firstly, like other bureaucracies, they’re embarassed to admit being wrong. And secondly, they (like the rest of the US government) are run by pro-China officials who delude themselves that Beijing can be a great partner and thus don’t want to do anything to counter China, or even to tell the truth about its reali military capabilities.

But China is a foe of the US, and intellectual disarmament always precedes actual disarmament.

America cannot afford this.

Netanyahu and the Battle of Style Over Substance

benjaminnetanyahu

As usual, the mainstream media is not paying attention to the actual substance of a story, opting for focusing on the style in which it was delivered. When Benjamin Netanyahu said that the world needs to draw a red line between two levels of nuclear material development in Iran, it was deadly serious business. In all honesty, the line should have been drawn months ago, and Iran shouldn’t have been permitted to enter into the second stage of nuclear weapon development. But, that is a hypothetical debate that serves absolutely no purpose at this point.

IsraelinUSA (CC)

What does matter is that while the press, including FoxNews, is running around babbling about the cartoon-style bomb Netanyahu used to illustrate his point on the floor of the UN, the real issue is being ignored. It is highly unlikely that diplomacy will hold the solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. That is being kind, in that I’m suggesting that diplomacy has any chance whatsoever at this point. The reality is that by this time next year, unless there is some major change in the status quo, Iran will have a working nuclear weapon for use against Israel, the U.S., or anyone else that happens to anger their leaders at any given time. I am not engaging in exaggerations here. Netanyahu was absolutely correct when he pointed out that the “mutually assured destruction” that prevented nuclear war with the Soviets will not work with the Iranians. They prize death, and look forward to paradise in a hereafter if they are martyred for their cause – they want to die. And no matter how much Obama and his supporters would like to deny it, our president is fully aware of that because he was exposed to that mentality at an early age.

Yes, I am pointing out what should be repeated time and again when it comes to foreign policy decisions made by this administration. Obama was raised to be a Muslim, for at least part of his childhood. I am not saying anything about radical Islam here, but I am saying that we have to stop allowing this president to have a pass for being incompetent on these issues. As Netanyahu was pointing out the dangers of radical Islam, Obama was claiming that this world has no place for individuals that insult Mohammed.

Now, we can debate out the finer points of Obama’s love affair with Islam all we like, but at this point, it can be likened to Nero celebrating while Rome burned. The fact is that Netanyahu’s suggestion for dealing with Iran probably will not work at this point. It is unlikely that anyone will find anything short of military action that will induce that nation to stop the production of nuclear material. But, Netanyahu was absolutely right about one thing – a nuclear-armed Iran is no different from a nuclear-armed al-Qaeda. So, the question for everyone now is, do we keep babbling about cartoon bombs, or do we start talking seriously about preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? We’re sitting in an interesting time, when social media makes it possible for the people to speak directly to leaders, media, etc. The media has essentially stopped playing watchdog over our government, and there has been talk of boycotts against advertisers, and other things like that. Maybe instead of boycotting businesses, we need to start telling the media what we really think – by contacting them directly via social media, and by getting the message across through the television ratings. Advertisers will leave when there isn’t an audience, after all. So, maybe start with this one issue. Take a moment, and tell your favorite (or least favorite) mainstream media personality that you want real news on Iran, and not fluff about cartoon drawings. And pass it on.

Finding a Winning Strategy in Iran

Nuclear Iran

Preventing Iran from getting the capability to manufacture nuclear bombs is obviously high on the list of concerns for the White House, and will be for the foreseeable future. Finding a way to do that is another issue entirely. While pundits from the U.S. often talk about the concept of “spin” in news reports, our journalists are amateurs in comparison with the religious leaders in Iran. And that is part of our current problem in dealing with their leadership.

Nuclear Iran

Mark Rain (CC)


On a very simplistic level, Americans are incapable of fully understanding the depth of resolve in Iran. It is a cultural divide that exacerbates the situation. The region in general is influenced to this day by tribal and clan feuds dating back thousands of years. In Islamist regimes like Iran, government is backed by God, as far as the people are concerned. That, coupled with the relative isolation of the nation from the rest of the world, leaves religious leaders there with the ability to spin the story about the current trade restrictions against Iran as an evil plot by infidels, or whatever they choose. While those leaders control to some extent what information gets in to the citizens, they also control what gets out. Only recently, the West got a taste of what could be a daily occurrence in Iran for all we know – citizens protesting against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Add to that the fact that Iran has a history of instability, and cannot under any circumstances be trusted to honor promises or treaties, and it becomes one of the most difficult diplomacy problems facing the U.S.

It is a given that Iran will be a large part of the foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney this fall. But, it will necessarily be in general terms that will likely be useless in practice, and will only be for the benefit of the public and pundits. And it is unlikely that there will be much from Romney’s side that will differ greatly from the current course of action, if for no other reason, because the options are fairly limited. No one that wants to be elected this November will suggest military action in Iran, outside of unmanned air-strikes, or limited surgical actions to reduce Iran’s ability to produce enriched Uranium. And any debate on that would be limited to what is already known publicly about those operations, so there would be logistical issues to address in such a plan – Iran apparently has been building facilities underground, presumably out of the reach of conventional air-strikes.

While the release of video showing domestic unrest is somewhat heartening, it is without real context. Yes, the people are angry with Ahmadinejad, but they could just as easily be more angry with the U.S. – a likely scenario, given that they are undoubtedly given daily doses of anti-Western rhetoric from clerics. The video evidence is also anecdotal, so it would be foolish to think that it is a sign of a potential mass uprising and eventual regime change. For the true cynics out there, change might not be good either – there are no guarantees that once the dust settles, the new leadership would be any friendlier with the U.S. or Israel.

Arab nations in the region add to the instability of the situation as well. Syria’s problems give Iran incentive to move forward faster toward nuclear capabilities, since that nation is its only real ally in the region. Then there is the issue of other Arab nations seeking nuclear arms in the wake of Iran accomplishing that end. That alone is arguably the greatest reason for preventing Iran from entering the nuclear club.

Then there is the possibility that Israel would render all U.S. diplomatic considerations moot by initiating a strike against Iran. If this happens before November, it would radically change the situation for our election, obviously. If it happens at all, it virtually guarantees U.S. involvement in yet another war. Any plan for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities that does not take Israel into consideration should be left on the drawing board. If Romney wants to truly exploit deficiencies in the Obama course of action, this is it. The current administration’s diplomatic failures with Israel should be tied into the Iran problem.

The one thing this administration might have done right was to enlist Russia in the diplomatic process. There is a tiny glimmer of hope that their restarting of talks with Tehran may cause the end of the current problem. While it may not leave all parties happy, since it may result in Iran’s ability to export power from nuclear plants, it is at least progress.

As for finding a winning strategy in Iran, perhaps the answer lies in the middle, between extending an open hand as the Obama administration is doing, and offering only a fist, like Iran. But, no matter what is chosen, if the U.S. does not stop characterizing itself as a weakling on the world stage, our nation will pay for it. There is such a thing as tough diplomacy, and as a nation, we need to embrace that stance once again.

Suggested Reading:

Keeping Iran in Check

The Israeli and Arab Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program

The Ghost of Iran’s Future

U.N Report Shows Iran Accelerating Nuke Capabilities

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has drastically accelerated it’s capability to produce higher-grade enriched uranium in just the last few months.

While Iran insists that it’s nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, missing uranium metal, the construction of underground facilities for enrichment and a failure to convincingly explain its activities have given the international community reason to fear that Iran is close to breaking the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that it had agreed to.

Iran publicly stated that it began using its underground Fordo facility to enrich uranium to 20% – a level much more easily upgraded to weapons-grade material. Iran began the high-grade enrichment at the underground plant in January that is about 20 miles north Qom – a religious stronghold in the Islamic nation – and right next to a military base.

Iran has stated that the higher-grade uranium is only to be used for medical purposes, but the placement of the manufacturing plant deep underground and encircling it with missiles and defense armaments paint a different picture. The on-again/off-again nuclear talks and refusal to allow inspection of Iranian facilities also fuels fears that Iran is on the verge of going nuclear.

The 12th Imam. Why a Nuclear Iran is Terrifying

The entrie transcript of this interview is available here. These are the parts I’m concerned about, which begin in the video at 36 minutes:

NBC’s Ann Curry: In your speeches, you pray for God to hasten the arrival of the hidden Imam, the Muslim messiah. Would you tell us, as I know you will speak about this at the general assembly, as well.  What is your relationship with the hidden Imam, and how soon do you think before the second coming?

Ahmadinejad: Yes, that’s true.  I prayed for the arrival of the 12th Imam. The owner of the age, as we call him.  Because the owner of the age is the symbol of the – justice and brotherly love prevailing around the world.  When the Imam arrives, all of these problems will be resolved.  And a prayer for the owner of the age is nothing but a wish for justice and brotherly love to prevail around the world. And it’s an obligation a person takes upon himself to always think about brotherly love. And also to treating others as equals.

All people can establish such a connection with the Imam of the age. It’s roughly the same as the relationship which exists between Christians and the Christ.  They speak with Jesus Christ and they are sure that Christ hears them.  And responds.  Therefore, this is not limited to us only.  Any person can talk with the Imam.

Curry: You’ve said that you believe that his arrival, the apocalypse, would happen in your own lifetime. What do you believe that you should do to hasten his arrival?

Ahmadinejad: I have never said such a thing.

Curry: Ah, forgive me.

Ahmadinejad: I – I – I was talking about peace.

Curry: Forgive me.

Ahmadinejad: What is being said about an apocalyptic war and – global war, things of that nature.  This is what the Zionists are claiming.  Imam…will come with logic, with culture, with science.  He will come so that there is no more war. No more enmity, hatred.  No more conflict.  He will call on everyone to enter a brotherly love. Of course, he will return with Jesus Christ.  The two will come back together.  And working together, they would fill this world with love.  The stories that have been disseminated around the world about extensive war, apocalyptic wars, so on and so forth, these are false.

This 53 minute long interview was conducted in September 2009 by NBC’s Ann Curry. The problem is that the parts discussing Ahmadinejad’s belief in the 12th Imam were not aired by the network.

Now let me provide a little information on the 12th Imam before I get back to Ahmadinejad. The Shi’ite Muslims believe in following the descendants of Muhammad and one of these is for many of them the 12th Imam.  From American Thinker by John W. Swails III Ph. D.:

To begin our overview of the theology behind the Hidden Imam, we have to recognize that the umma, the worldwide body of Muslims, is divided into two main sects, the Sunni and the Shi’a.  The roots of this division go back to the period directly following the death of Muhammad and the conflict over who should be his successor, or caliph.  The Sunni basically accept all the caliphs who have ruled as legitimate, no matter their genealogy, how they achieved the office, or how good a Muslim they were.

The Shi’a differ. They posit that the true successor to Muhammad has to be a descendant of the cousin and son—in—law of the Prophet, an enormously important figure known to all Muslims, Ali.  As a result, they are called the shiatu—Ali, or the ‘party of Ali.’

To complicate things further, the Shi’a are further subdivided into three main groups.

These three groups are known by the number of Imams they accept.  In the case of the Shi’a, the word for the designated prayer leader—imam with a lower case ‘i’— is also used to designate the descendants of Ali who were legitimate successors to Muhammad. Of course these select successors are marked with the capital letter: Imams.

This, the group of Shi’a which accepts four Imams is called the ‘Fourers’ or ‘Zaydis’ after the fourth Imam in their listing.  The ‘Seveners’ or ‘Ismailis’ are known as such for the same reason.  The ‘Twelvers’ are the group which constitutes over 90% of the population of Iran and around 60% of the population of Iraq.

Now unlike the Sunni caliph, the Shi’a Imam inherited from Muhammad not just his civil rule over the umma but also his prerogative of interpreting the Quran, his infallibility, and his sinlessness (that connotation of impeccability seems far lost today).  The eleventh Imam, al—Hassan al—Askari, died in 874.  He was succeeded by the twelfth Imam, the youthful Muhammad, who ‘disappeared’ in 274/878 in the cave of the great mosque at Samarra without leaving progeny.

He is now known as the ‘expected one,’ (al—Muntazar), the ‘promised one’ (al—Mahdi’), or the ‘hidden one,’ (al—Mustatir).  The theology of the Hidden Imam is that Allah realized at last that the rightful successor to Muhammad was not going to be accepted by Islam at large so he had to be taken into hiding and kept there until he would re—appear to purify the umma and take the world for Islam.

The period of the Twelfth Imam’s hiding was in two parts.  The period from 878 until 941 would be known as the ‘Lesser Occultation,’ a time when the Hidden Imam was still active in this earthly realm, communicating by messengers.  The Great Occultation began in 941, when all contact with the world was broken off.  This date has been misinterpreted by some authors as the date of his disappearance.  The Great Occultation continues to present and will end when he re—appears.

The Wikipedia definition is more indepth and can be found here if interested.

Basically it is believed God has hidden him from the world, but he will come back. Now lets learn about the conditions for his return.

Wikipedia:

Twelver Shi’as cite various references from the Qur’an and reports, or Hadith, from Imam Mahdi and the twelve Shi’a Imams with regard to the reappearance of al-Mahdi who would, in accordance with Allah’s command, bring justice and peace to the world by establishing Islam throughout the world.

Mahdi is reported to have said:

Shi’as believe that Imam al-Mahdi will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos and civil war emerges between the human race for no reason. At this time, it is believed, half of the true believers will ride from Yemen carrying white flags to Makkah, while the other half will ride from Karbala, in Iraq, carrying black flags to Makkah. At this time, Imam al-Mahdi will come wielding Allah’s Sword, the Blade of Evil’s Bane, Zulfiqar (Arabic: ذو الفقار, ðū l-fiqār), the Double-Bladed Sword. He will also come and reveal the texts in his possession, such as al-Jafr and al-Jamia.

Shi’as believe that Jesus will also come, (after Imam Mahdi’s re-appearance to follow him.) the Imam Mahdi to destroy tyranny and falsehood, and to bring justice and peace to the world.

About.com: World News:

Muhammad al-Mahdi, is believed by these Shiites to have been born in present-day Iraq in 869 and never to have died, only gone into hiding. Twelvers — not other Shiites or Sunni Muslims — believe that al-Mahdi will return as a messiah with Jesus to bring peace to the world and establish Islam as the ruling faith across the globe.

The apocalyptic catch? The Mahdi is expected to appear when the world is wracked in utter chaos and war. Many Sunnis also believe that the Mahdi will come in such a judgment-day scenario, but believe that he has not been born yet.

So basically, out of the chaos of the  apocalyps the 12 Imam will come and usher in world peace, with Jesus behind him, through Islam. On the whole not to different from the Christian belief of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, except of course, for the religious differences.

However, Ahmadinejad doesn’t just believe in the return of the 12th Imam, he seeks to “hasten” it.

From Telegraph.co.uk Jan 2006:

But listen carefully to the utterances of Mr Ahmadinejad – recently described by President George W Bush as an “odd man” – and there is another dimension, a religious messianism that, some suspect, is giving the Iranian leader a dangerous sense of divine mission.

In November, the country was startled by a video showing Mr Ahmadinejad telling a cleric that he had felt the hand of God entrancing world leaders as he delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly last September.

When an aircraft crashed in Teheran last month, killing 108 people, Mr Ahmadinejad promised an investigation. But he also thanked the dead, saying: “What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad’s piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president’s belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

One of the first acts of Mr Ahmadinejad’s government was to donate about £10 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious come to drop messages to the Hidden Imam into a holy well.

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour – denied by the government but widely believed – is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a “contract” pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent it to Jamkaran.

Iran’s dominant “Twelver” sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into “occlusion” in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.

This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.

Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.

Its most remarkable manifestation came with Mr Ahmadinejad’s international debut, his speech to the United Nations.

World leaders had expected a conciliatory proposal to defuse the nuclear crisis after Teheran had restarted another part of its nuclear programme in August.

Instead, they heard the president speak in apocalyptic terms of Iran struggling against an evil West that sought to promote “state terrorism”, impose “the logic of the dark ages” and divide the world into “light and dark countries”.

The speech ended with the messianic appeal to God to “hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace”.

From Telegraph.co.uk Sept 2007:

The Hidden Imam, as he is also known by his followers, will only return after a period of cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed – what Christians call the Apocalypse – and then lead the world into an era of universal peace.

Rumours abound of Mr Ahmadinejad’s devotion to the 12th Imam, and last year it was reported that he had persuaded his cabinet to sign a “contract” pledging themselves to work for his return.

Another example of his messianic tendencies surfaced after 108 people were killed in an aircraft crash in Teheran. Mr Ahmadinejad praised the victims, saying: “What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”

For many of the hundreds of delegates who attended Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN this week, his discourse on the merits of the 12th Imam finally brought home the reality of the danger his regime poses to world peace.

Rather than allaying concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Mr Ahmadinejad spoke at length about how a Muslim saviour would relieve the world’s suffering.

The era of Western predominance was drawing to a close, he said, and would soon be replaced by a “bright future” ushered in by the 12th Imam’s return. “Without any doubt, the Promised One, who is the ultimate Saviour, will come. The pleasing aroma of justice will permeate the whole world.”

This is one of the U.N. speeches where he calls for the return of the 12th Imam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv9NOXAQmEA

More from the American Thinker article:

At the end of his speech at the United Nations in the fall of 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an invocation to Allah to bring about the speedy reappearance of the Hidden Imam.

The media and, sad to say, many academic persons were at a loss to explain this eschatological reference.  The situation was complicated by later interviews in which Ahmadinejad reported that many of his co—religionists claimed that while he was making those remarks, they could see about him an aura of light.  He recalled that he too was aware of a celestial light at that time.  He also pointed to the fact that the ‘leaders of the world’ were watching him at that time with a fixed gaze, apparently unable to look away.

February, 1979, over two million lined the road leading from Mehrebad airport into Tehran during the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini, chanting ‘al—Muntazar.’

Khomeini immediately explained in a series of speeches that he was not al—Muntazar, one of the designations of the Hidden Imam, but that he had come to prepare the way for his appearance. In fact, Article Five of the constitution for the Islamic Republic of Iran, promulgated that same year, 1979, proclaimed that the basis for the constitution and its government was the authority of the Hidden Imam.

Moreover, the constitution promised that it would dissolve in his favor, following the  Hidden Imam’s re—appearance.

The IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran) is, in actuality, an eschatological construct based on a messianic figure known as the Hidden Imam. With the ongoing pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and the war against the United States, all in the name of the Hidden Imam, it suddenly seems more important to know something about this whole concept.

In 2006 Joel Rosenberg wrote an article for NationalReview Online (NRO) on the subject and included excerpts from a book byAyatollah Ibrahim Amini:

I include key excerpts from the Ayatollah’s book:

When the world has become psychologically ready to accept the government of God and when general conditions have become favorable to the idea of the rulership of the truth, God will permit the Mahdi to launch his final revolution….A few selected individuals…will be the first ones to respond to his call, and will be drawn to him like iron to a magnet in that first hour of his appearance…..On seeing the fulfillment of many of the signs promised in the traditions, a large number of unbelievers will turn towards Islam. Those who persist in their disbelief and wickedness shall be killed by soldiers of the Mahdi. The only victorious government in the entire world will be that of Islam….Islam will be the religion of everyone….The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and the Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise, they will be killed….It seems unlikely that this catastrophe can be avoided….War and bloodshed [are] inevitable.

In his book, Al-Imam al-Mahdi, Amini describes the signs of the coming of the Mahdi in great detail. Chief among them: a massive earthquake and the launching of a global war to kill and/or subjugate Jews, Christians, and other “infidels” under Islamic rule.

In this video Ahmadinejad claims the 12th Imam “is in charge of the world”

Here is a British News Report on how Iran’s Government has become devoted to hastening the return of the 12th Imam.

Here Joel Rosenberg discusses the 12th Imam on The Glenn Beck Program in 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kpgiKf87Bo&feature=player_embedded

And here again in 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ3emqoV0cI&feature=related

Here he is in News Reports chanting “Death to Israel” and with a Hitler comparison

My summary is this:

Ahmadinejad and the entire Iranian Regime in power believe in the return of this 12th Imam, no problem. The Iranian Regime seeks to hasten his return, Big Problem. It is believed they have signed contracts to this end. The rhetoric coming out of Iran supports this belief. The argument to allow Iran to have nuclear power has been, “don’t worry they’re not going to attack and commit suicide.” But when Ahmadinejad praises victims of a plane crash, calling them martyrs, and advocates to “hasten” the return of the 12th Imam, which can only be accomplished after or during the Apocalypse, do you really want to take that chance? I don’t.

To hasten the 12th Imam’s return is to start the Apocalypse. I don’t want Ahmadinejad anywhere near anything dangerous, nuclear or otherwise.
Today President Ahmadinejad announced that the Islamic Republic had produced its first batch of 20 per cent enriched uranium. He is pictured here at the Natanz nuclear plant

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