January 1990 (vol. 6, #2) 1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1990 J Orient
THIRD-WORLD ARMS RACE ACCELERATES
Iraq recently launched a 48-tonne, three-stage rocket, called Tamouz-1, capable of putting a satellite into space, demonstrating unexpectedly rapid acceleration in its aerospace industry and thus its ability to produce ballistic missiles.1
In May, 1989, India successfully tested the Agni intermediate range ballistic missile, said to be capable of delivering a one-tonne warhead to a target up to 2,500 km away. This range includes some Chinese cities.2
Brazil is developing at least six missiles with ranges from 150 to 1,200 km. Now a major exporter of armaments (variously estimated to be worth from $1.2 billion to $410 billion between 1981 and 1985), Brazil places no ``end user'' restrictions on its sales. Its best customers are Iraq and Libya. Having developed an inertial guidance system, Brazil is beginning to compete in high technology markets once supplied only by Western and Soviet-bloc producers.3
China developed a sea-launched ballistic missile in 1982, a sea-launched cruise missile in 1985, and a MIRVed ICBM capable of reaching the US in 1987. China is also willing to sell to anyone who has cash.4
Other members of the ballistic missile club include Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, South Yemen, Syria, and Taiwan.
Uses of Ballistic Missiles
During the Iran-Iraq war, about 500 ballistic missiles were fired in the ``War of the Cities,'' which lasted 52 days. It is believed that the 160 missile attacks on Tehran caused the capitulation of the Ayatollah Khomeini, despite his vow to fight to the end.4 The lesson of Iraq's triumph over a nation with three times its population was not lost on the rest of the world.
One prime target for Third World missiles is, of course, Israel, especially as increasing accuracy allows an adversary to threaten military targets. Another is US forward-deployed forces. In 1986, after the bombing of Tripoli, Libya fired two SCUD-B missiles at the US communications base on the island of Lampedusa. The base was just barely out of range─then.4 Even now, US coastal cities are within reach of Third World sea-launched ballistic missiles.
So far, Third World missiles have delivered conventional explosives. But they could just as easily deliver weapons of mass destruction.
Nuclear technology continues to proliferate. Brazil is striving to renew an agreement with West Germany for ``fuel-cycle'' technology, but refuses to sign a treaty barring the use of nuclear energy for warlike purposes.5 Argentina, South Korea, and Taiwan also have substantial nuclear industrial bases; Argentina may soon be able to produce plutonium.3
Chemical warheads are probably available to all Third World nations with missile technology.6 Iran tested a SCUD missile with an indigenous chemical warhead in 1988. There is evidence that Syria is already stockpiling nerve gas for use with its Soviet SS-21 missiles. With lighter chemical or biological warheads, the range of the missiles is extended, placing all of Europe and many inland US cities within reach.3
Aggression is not the only use of missile technology. The Brazilian Barracuda anti-ship cruise missile is intended for a sophisticated coastal defense system.3 And the cash flow from exports mitigates its crushing problem of foreign debt.
Prospects for Limiting Technology Transfers
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), established in 1987 by seven industrial nations, has no international monitoring system and no provision for sanctions. The Soviet Union and China are not members. And even from member nations, credit and technology continue to flow into the development and production of Third World missiles through banks, numerous private corporations, and individuals.1
Intelligence on missile proliferation is weak. As noted by Dan Quayle, nearly two years elapsed between a Saudi agreement to purchase Chinese weapons and the accidental discovery of the missiles by an alert reader of reconnaissance photographs, who was looking for signs of airfield construction.3
Far more effective than the MTCR, the ABM Treaty has constrained development of US defenses against this epidemic of missiles. However, the Strategic Defense Initiative, in a joint program with Israel, is responding to the threat of short-and medium range missiles in the Middle East. The Arrow program, using interceptor rockets armed with conventional explosives, is expected to be deployed in 1994.
Should America also be defended against Iraqi missiles?
1.Bruce, J: Assessing Iraq's missile technology. Jane's Defence Weekly 23 Dec:1371-1374, 1989.
2.Jayaraman, KS: India's ballistic success. Nature 339:329, 1989.
3.George C. Marshall Institute: Defending against Ballistic Missile Attacks: The Concept of Defensive Deterrence. 1989.
4.Hackett, JT: The ballistic missile epidemic. Global Affairs 5 Winter: 38-57, 1989.
5.Brazil wants nuclear pact renewed with Germany. Wall St J Sept 1, 1989, A4.
6.Republican Policy Committee: A Threat to America: Ballistic Missiles from Developing Countries. US Senate, April 19, 1989.
Chemical Warfare Update
Angola: Experimental Laboratory for Chemical Warfare
According to UNITA military intelligence leader General Peregrino Wambu Chindondo, chemical weapons used by Soviet-supported forces have caused 83 cases of severe respiratory distress, with 38 fatalities. Paralysis occurred in 293 persons, leading to death in 42.
Dr. Manassas, director of the UNITA hospital in Jamba (the capital of ``free Angola''), noted that medications that in early cases brought improvement or relief increasingly either lost their effectiveness or actually worsened the patient's symptoms.
A captured soldier told of being trained in chemical warfare by Cuban specialists. Testing kits exactly like those taken from Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan were found.
UNITA claimed to have discovered a large cache of Soviet-made chemical weapons in Luanda, presumably intended for a massive offensive with chemical weapons, against which UNITA would have been defenseless. As a result of this information, Savimbi acquired 20,000 gas masks.
Andreas Holst, a German, recovered bomb fragments with Russian inscriptions, which on testing in Ghent revealed cyanide-containing compounds. Tests carried out by Belgian toxicologist Aubin Heyndrickx were confirmed in a parallel investigation in a British laboratory.
Commentator Rolf Hallerbach concluded: ``It looks as though southeastern Angola is a laboratory for chemical experiments in which UNITA is destined to play the role of rabbits or rats, sparing those who live in `civilized' countries from unnecessary agony.''
``The abundance of cases and the tightness of the evidence leave no room for doubt. . . .Even if the weapons are silent from now on, the Western world does not dare close its eyes to what has happened'' (Europäische Wehrkunde 7/89, pp. 433-435).
On December 21, 1989, people drinking from water tank #4 in Sibiu experienced headache, visual disturbances, loss of consciousness, vomiting, etc. These symptoms are all compatible with organophosphate poisoning. The analysis of the water (by gas chromatography) and the determination of the cholinesterase activity of the blood was done in the University of Cluj. The conclusion was that an organophosphate had been used. Atropine sulfate and toxogonin were advised.
As soon as the symptoms appeared among the population, water tank #4 was shut off, rinsed, and cleaned. The people received water from army trucks.
A few days later, there was a fight in Timisoara between the army and Securitate over the water tanks. Poisoning was feared, as had occurred in Sibiu. According to witnesses, the Securitate possesses ``all possible chemical warfare agents.''
Toxicologist Aubin Heyndrickx supervised the chemical tests and interviewed the physicians at Central Hospital who treated the patients. From the tests and from the very high dose of atropine required to produce a response, he concluded that the tank was poisoned with sarin or VX (Report on the Humanitarian Mission to Romania, December 23-29, 1989, Laboratoria voor Toxicologie Criminalistiek, State University of Ghent).
Enforcing a Ban on Chemical Warfare
After the successful use of chemical weapons by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian commander-in-chief said: ``The war taught us that international laws are only drops of ink on paper.''
At the January, 1989, Paris conference on chemical weapons, no sanctions were imposed on Iraq for flagrant violations of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, or on the chemical companies that supplied the plants and key materials. The Libyan nerve gas plant at Rabta was passed over in silence.
Raymond Cohen at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Robin Ranger of the Heritage Foundation suggest that chemical weapons are acquired in response to a perceived threat. Help, not exhortation, is required. They propose an International Chemical Weapons Authority (ICWA), which would offer an ``insurance policy'' to nations pledging to abstain from chemical weapons use. The benefits would include training in civil defense, such as the use of protective equipment. In an emergency, ICWA would dispatch defensive materials, such as antidotes and gas masks. A team would be available for immediate investigation of any allegation of chemical weapons use. Conventional military equipment would be supplied to offset any advantage gained by the user of chemical weapons. Collective penalties such as trade embargoes would be imposed to make the user of chemical weapons pay (Intl Perspectives July/Aug 1989, pp. 9-12).
A Biological Chernobyl?
If the Soviets decide to allow inspection of chemical weapons facilities, will Military Compound #19 at Sverdlovsk be included? The Soviets still maintain that the 1979 outbreak of anthrax near the compound was caused by contaminated meat. US intelligence still believes otherwise. Dr. Barry Erlick, biological weapons analyst for the US Army, testified before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee last February that the outbreak was probably caused by an explosion that released about ten pounds of anthrax spores. In that case, the Soviets were clearly in violation of the 1972 ban on biological weapons (Wall St J 9/15/89, A12).
Denial and Psychic Numbing
Some Americans' reaction to the Krasnoyarsk radar─before the Soviets themselves admitted to defying the ABM Treaty─ was a recapitulation of the history of past treaties. Governments may prefer to believe in anything (including bee feces) rather than face the implications of an outright violation of an arms control agreement. Robin Ranger has chronicled these ingenious rationalizations. For example, some British officials noted that the German battleship Bismarck appeared to violate the 1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement─unless they assumed that the ship had a very shallow draft for operations in the Baltic. So they made precisely that assumption. The battle-cry ``Sink the Bismarck!'' was heard just a few years later (Insight 11/20/89, pp. 34-35).